Facebook has announced it is investing US$1 million into scholarships for aspiring minority journalists in the US, in a bid to diversify the journalism industry and combat ‘fake news’.
The scholarship is open to juniors, seniors, or graduate students studying digital media, journalism or communications at an accredited university in the United States.
The Facebook Journalism Project Scholarship program will award 100 aspiring journalists with a scholarship with either the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association or National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
Each organization will receive US$250,000 in total to award US$50,000 across five years; and five awards of US$10,000 will be granted to applicants per year, Facebook’s head of news partnerships and former CNN anchor Campbell Brown wrote in a post on Friday.
“The Facebook Journalism Project is committed to supporting the next generation of journalists. That’s why we’re proud to announce that we’ve partnered with some of the leading journalism organizations in the country to establish The Facebook Journalism Project Scholarship program,” said Brown.
Facebook hopes to ‘strengthen the pipeline of diversity in journalism’ through the scholarship and dispel the ‘fake news’ epidemic.
It has been speculated that the program is a response to Facebook’s alleged role in Russia’s supposed meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections, according to The Hill.
Facebook is facing harsh scrutiny for its sale of pro-Trump adverts bought by Russia which were reportedly used to exploit political divides in the US and swing the vote in Donald Trump’s favour against Hillary Clinton.