Facebook is donating £4.5 million to train journalists in Britain to support communities that have lost local newspapers and reporters. Photo: AFP

INTERNATIONAL – Facebook is donating £4.5 million (R81 million) to train journalists in Britain to support communities that have lost local newspapers and reporters, in no little part due to ad revenue and readers switching online to the social media giant.

The US company said on Monday it recognised the role it played in how people got their news today and it wanted to do more to support local publishers.

Around 80 new trainee reporters funded by Facebook would be recruited by regional publishers Newsquest, JPIMedia, Reach, Archant and the Midland News Association, in a scheme overseen by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), Facebook said.

The pressure facing print publishers was laid bare on Friday when Britain’s Johnston Press filed for administration and agreed to be bought by its bondholders after it concluded its equity had no value.

Facebook said the two-year pilot – a global first for the platform – did not signal any move to start producing its own news content.

Reuters