Current Community News Project contracts unaffected as Meta funding draws to end

Meta has confirmed it will not renew funding for the Community News Project (CNP) when its current phase draws to an end.

Meta has confirmed it will not renew funding for the Community News Project (CNP) when its current phase draws to an end.

The NCTJ would like to reassure current community news reporters that their contracts and training arrangements are unaffected by the news.

The CNP, which was announced in 2018, has seen reporters hired to cover underserved communities while working towards an NCTJ qualification.

Meta has contributed $17 million to the CNP over the past five years. However, it will not continue to fund the scheme beyond its current phase, which runs into 2024.

Current contracts are not affected by Meta’s decision to end its involvement, and many community reporter roles will continue into 2024 as journalists complete their training.

Joanne Forbes, NCTJ chief executive, said: “This has been an ambitious, ground-breaking project for the last five years and has succeeded in attracting talented people from different backgrounds into journalism careers and supported them with professional training to serve their communities.

“It has been transformative and a privilege for the NCTJ to be involved.

“We recognise the continued importance of the regional news media in training UK journalists and we will do all we can to seek alternative sources of funding to secure the project’s legacy into the future.

“On behalf of everyone at the NCTJ, I’d like to thank Meta for investing in this project for the last five years, and Sarah Brown and her colleagues at Meta, the publishers, trainers and reporters for making the project such a success.”

More than 70 per cent of reporters hired through the CNP have met one or more of the diversity criteria identified at the project’s outset, and many CNP alumni have moved into full-time jobs in journalism after completing their training and fixed-term contracts.

The NCTJ is currently exploring ways to secure the project’s legacy and take it forward into the future, in partnership with regional news publishers.

This comes as Meta confirms it is to “deprecate” the Facebook News tab in the UK, France and Germany.

Sarah Brown, head of news partnerships for Northern Europe at Meta, said: “We are proud of the work achieved through the programme, which through $17m of funding has successfully trained and funded more than 260 journalists in newsrooms across the UK.

“The learnings and experience gained by these journalists are an invaluable legacy for the project and for those who took part.”

She thanked the NCTJ, publishers and journalists who have been involved in the project over the last five years.

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