By Campbell Brown, Head of News Partnerships

Today we’re announcing the Facebook Journalism Project: Local News Subscriptions Accelerator, a $3 million, three-month pilot program in the United States to help metro newspapers take their digital subscription business to a new level.

We often talk to publishers about what the future of journalism looks like and local news publishers tell us that digital subscribers are critical to the long-term sustainability of their business. We know Facebook is one part of the strategy to engage readers and ultimately drive paid subscriptions.

The Accelerator will work with 10-15 metro news organizations to unlock strategies that help publishers build digital customer acquisitions on and off our platform. We are working with Tim Griggs, a former New York Times executive and leading digital media consultant, to helm the program’s curriculum focused on understanding digital audiences and building marketing plans for digital subscriber acquisition.

Participating publishers will convene in-person once a month, receive coaching from digital subscription experts, and participate in weekly trainings covering a broad array of digital subscriptions marketing activities, including but not limited to the use of Facebook. Working with program coaches, publishers will then design individual projects that tackle their unique business needs. Grant funding will empower each publisher to implement solutions that help elevate their subscription business.

Currently enrolled publishers include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, The Denver Post, The Miami Herald, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Omaha World-Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Tennessean and Newsday. We also want publishers across the country to benefit from the strategies explored during the program, so we are working with The Lenfest Institute to distribute learnings and case studies from this pilot group through the Local Media Consortium, Local Media Association, and the News Media Alliance.

“The Accelerator has been designed by publishers for publishers,” said Jim Friedlich, Executive Director of The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. “The workshop and grant program addresses one of our most significant opportunities for new revenue to fund local journalism. We look forward to sharing the learnings with news organizations worldwide.”

“Providing a venue for metro news organizations to collaboratively develop audience and subscriber acquisition strategies is a smart way to tackle what’s been a vexing problem for most publishers,” said Christian Hendricks, President of the Local Media Consortium. “There’s no doubt the combined-forces fast-paced structure of the Accelerator will produce a positive outcome benefitting all publishers.”

This initiative is a part of our ongoing efforts to provide tools and trainings to newsrooms and journalists, and to ensure our platform connects people to the quality, trusted and local news that is most important to them. We will be making additional investments in organizations and programs committed to strengthening and advancing the future of journalism, and sharing more on that soon.