Facebook Announces First Round of Newsletter Delivery, With $ 5 Million Funding For Journalists
After sharing the first details of its upcoming newsletter platform last month, Facebook has now confirmed the first elements of the new project, which will see the company pay off. Funding of $ 5 million to local journalists to launch the product and generate initial interest.
As reported by Reuters, Facebook’s new funding will take the form of multi-year agreements with established writers in order to primarily present its newsletter platform and broaden its interest.
According to Reuters:
“Freelance journalists in the United States can apply for the program starting Thursday, and priority will be given to journalists who plan to cover” black, native, Latin, Asian or other audiences of color, “in places where there is no source information, Facebook said. “
Facebook will partner with the International Center for Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists to assess nominations. The company will then provide the selected participants with access to experts and services to help them create a newsletter activity through the app.
Newsletters have seen a resurgence in recent times, with a growing number of journalists now going it alone and generating solid income through building their own dedicated audiences. While traditional newsrooms are struggling, especially throughout the pandemic, paid newsletter subscriptions offer a viable alternative, with only a relatively small basis of payment needed to make it a profitable business.
This has seen platforms like Substack and Revue working to expand their offerings, with Substack in particular offering deals of up to $ 300,000 for top writers, with the goal of attracting them and expanding their business.
Social platforms are now looking to exploit the same as well, using their massive audience as a lure to help writers connect with audiences, in order to build newsletter business on the back of their presence.
Twitter moved all in earlier this year with the acquisition of Review, by giving it an immediate link with the newsletter space, which it is now seeking to translate into an integrated Twitter offer, to help users monetize their presence on the platform.
As reported, Facebook shared the first details of its upcoming newsletter platform last month, which will be integrated with Facebook Pages, and allow writers to use Facebook’s massive reach to grow their audience and monetize their work.
Which, of course, could be a risky proposition. Facebook has an established tradition of massively promoting one type or option of post, only to abandon those who have relied on that type of post when it ultimately loses interest. And as we have seen recently with the An Australian publisher has closed its doors, if you’re looking to start a business through Facebook, you don’t want to get too dependent on the platform.
This is exactly what the editors would be doing through these newsletter offers, putting their income in the hands of the social network, which could decide to turn off this income stream at any time.
A positive note, as recently reported by the former Verge reporter, and now independent from the newsletter Casey newton, is the Facebook newsletter product will allow creators to take their mailing lists with them if they go, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
This could alleviate some concerns around the offering, with the option to leave, with your audience, if you wish.
Either way, if Facebook starts throwing money at writers, you can bet that at least some of them will accept.
The question then is how many newsletters can people take, and how many of those editors also underestimate the amount of work it takes to actually create an interesting newsletter, day after day, week after week?
I can tell you that I write about seven articles a day and it can be difficult to stay on top of all the latest happenings while constantly delivering content. Most established editors are of course aware of this – but opening the option to less experienced voices could create a messy and spammy situation, which could also, potentially, dilute the value of newsletter offerings as a whole.
Somehow, it looks like we’re going to find out what the limits of newsletter delivery might be. Clean up your inboxes and get ready.