Facebook will spend $1 million to fund the hiring by The Canadian Press of eight reporters, who will automatically become CWA Canada members.
The one-year fellowship program announced Tuesday will cover the costs to immediately hire, train, equip and provide salary and benefits for the eight journalists who will be added this fall to CP’s newsrooms across the country.
CWA Canada’s largest Local, the Canadian Media Guild, represents 158 staff at CP, as well as 63 editorial workers in its commercial division, Pagemasters North America.
Malcolm Kirk, the president of CP, said the program is a “real win for journalism, it’s a real win for young journalists starting out in their careers and a huge value for our customers to be able to get new content at no additional charge.”
He noted that Facebook will have no influence on the reporters’ work and there will be no infringement on the news agency’s editorial independence.
CWA Canada has joined other journalism advocates in calling for more financial support from governments for struggling news media operations, as well as urging Ottawa to make tech giants such as Facebook and Google share advertising revenues with Canadian publishers.
The Financial Post reported on Tuesday that Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said the federal government is currently funding media because “there’s a crisis, like an emergency. But in the long run we need to find longer-term solutions.”
Guilbeault said Canada might follow the lead of France and Australia, which are instituting measures to make large digital companies pay for content use.
“We will be coming up with something in the fall, looking at neighbouring rights, news and information organizations and web giants as well,” he said.