The Facebook Journalism Project, the DMZ, and the Ryerson University School of Journalism are launching the Digital News Innovation Challenge, which will provide five startups with $100,000 in non-dilutive seed funding.
The five-month program will also provide startups with $50,000 in Facebook marketing budget broken up into increments. The goal is to support startups solving a problem in the Canadian digital news and journalism landscape with space in the DMZ’s Sandbox, access to growth mentors, and workshops designed by Canadian digital news experts.
“Quality journalism delivers facts and ideas that help us better understand society, and each other,” said Kevin Chan, head of public policy at Facebook Canada. “The Facebook community values sharing and discussing ideas and news, which is why it is critical for us to partner with leading organizations like the DMZ and Ryerson School of Journalism to support the Canadian news ecosystem and help these startups succeed.”
The news was first announced in September 2017 by Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly, though the full details have only been released today.
“Canada is a key market where innovators, influencers and investors are shaping the digital media sector on a global scale,” said Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ at Ryerson University. “Our goal with this Canada-wide program will be to support and stimulate innovation in journalism, while developing a more sustainable news ecosystem through ongoing collaboration between the tech and news sectors.”
The program will culminate in a demo day where each startup will present their company to a panel of judges, mentors, and industry leaders.
“There has never been a more important time for innovation in journalism, to experiment with technologies and economic models,” said Janice Neil, chair of the Ryerson School of Journalism. “We are excited to act as mentors and bring both leading alumni and industry partners to support this project.”
Startups can apply starting January 28, 2018 until March 9, 2018.