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Facebook is dead serious about getting you reading more local news

February 27, 2018

A new report says the social network is investing hard cash into city newspapers to help publishers get stories in front of more eyeballs.

The news:  Axios reports that the social network is launching a “$3 million, three-month pilot program” to coach “10-15 metro news organizations” and help them “build digital customer acquisitions on and off Facebook.” Ex-New York Times exec Tim Griggs is running the show.

Backstory: As part of its push to become "more meaningful," Facebook recently said it would prioritize local news in your feeds. Zuck says local news "helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities," and that reading it "is directly correlated with civic engagement."

Why it matters: Local news outlets struggle more than nationals to make money from ads, and it’s harder for them to generate revenue from subscriptions. This might help them find new ways to turn a buck. Facebook will also hope it boosts readership of high-quality local news, attenuating the effects of some of its more ... questionable content.

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