Embarcadero Media has received a $100,000 emergency grant to sustain its work during the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to the Facebook Journalism Project's COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund. Embarcadero is one of 26 newsrooms in California selected to share $2.2 million in support from the Menlo Park social-networking giant.
Embarcadero Media — a local, independently owned news organization — publishes the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com, the Mountain View Voice, the Almanac, the Pleasanton Weekly, DanvilleSanRamon.com and TheSixFifty.com.
Other California newsrooms receiving Facebook grants range from Berkeleyside to San Jose Spotlight to CalMatters.
The Facebook program received 2,000 applications from newsrooms across the U.S. and its territories; in total, 144 recipients are being funded between $25,000 and $100,000, the company stated in a May 7 press release. The grants are supporting many publishers who are hardest hit by this crisis: Nearly 80% of recipients are family- or independently owned and more than half are published by or for communities of color.
"We're proud to support this diverse group of publishers — many of which are family- or independently owned. Not only are these journalists working tirelessly to serve people right now — they're focused on transformation, building innovative local news businesses that can continue to serve communities beyond the current pandemic," said Campbell Brown, vice president of global news partnerships at Facebook.
The COVID-19 Local News Relief Grant Program was designed to provide funding so newsrooms could both respond to immediate community needs and/or offset some revenue shortfalls to help publishers maintain long-term sustainability during this crisis, Facebook stated.
Embarcadero Media plans to use the grant to help reinstate some furloughed employees and restore other workers' hours, fund technology and IT upgrades that have been needed during this period of remote work and pay for marketing expenses to support membership initiatives, according to Bill Johnson, president and CEO of Embarcadero Media.
The grant will also help the company in its long-term plans, including accelerating expansion of its digital publishing and creating deeper synergies between its millennials-focused weekly newsletter TheSixFifty.com and dining-oriented newsletter Peninsula Foodist, Johnson said.
"This vitally important grant money is a tremendous opportunity for us to not only restore staffing levels so we can continue to serve the communities in which we publish but also to lay groundwork for our future journalism projects and business development," Johnson said.