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Volume One Receives Facebook Journalism Project Grant

grants provide $10.3 million to support more than 144 local newsrooms nationwide

Rebecca Mennecke, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Volume One video producer Joel Pearish records video at the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market.
Volume One video producer Joel Pearish records video at the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market.

Facebook announced recently that more than 144 U.S. news organizations, including Volume One, will receive a total of $10.3 million in grants through the COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program.

The grants are part of a broader $100 million global investment in news that Facebook announced earlier this year.

Volume One will use the funds in part to tell the story – with video, text, and photography – of the pandemic’s impact on food systems in the Chippewa Valley and beyond, including farmers markets, small producers, co-ops, CSA farms, Hmong food growers, and consumers, particularly in regard to changing health precautions and attitudes. The grant will also support Volume One’s ongoing coverage of the Chippewa Valley overall. 

“We’re proud to support this diverse group of publishers – many of which are family- or independently owned,” said Campbell Brown, vice president of global news partnerships at Facebook in an article on Facebook’s journalism grants. “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.” 

At a time when many media organizations are struggling along with us, we've been deeply thankful that we've been able to be proactive and creative in finding ways to stay afloat these last several months, while also spreading the word to the community on how to help other local businesses and organizations keep their heads above water too.” –Nick Meyer, owner of Volume One

Facebook received more than 2,000 applications for the COVID-19 Local News Relief Grant Program, which provided grants from $25,000 to $100,000 to help local newsrooms. The selection team included the Local Media Association and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, as well as the Institute for Nonprofit News, Local Independent Online News Publishers, Local Media Consortium, and the National Association of Broadcasters.  

“To be among the successfully funded applicants to this program – which were less than 10% of those that applied – is a huge boost for our staff and vote of confidence in the work we do in this community,” said Volume One owner Nick Meyer. “At a time when many media organizations are struggling along with us, we’ve been deeply thankful that we’ve been able to be proactive and creative in finding ways to stay afloat these last several months, while also spreading the word to the community on how to help other local businesses and organizations keep their heads above water too."

While advertising is down across most local and national media, some of Volume One’s initiatives to stay strong outside of this Facebook grant have included the launch of a successful Reader Membership Program, assisting local businesses by offering a Marketing Relief Program, landing a Google News Initiative grant, partnering with sponsors for special pandemic editions in April and May, and leveraging funds from the federal Payroll Protection Program through RCU, among other efforts and programs.

Nearly 80% of the grant recipients are family- or independently owned businesses, and more than half are published by or for communities of color, Facebook said.

Since the pandemic began, the Facebook Journalism Project has awarded more than 600 grants across the U.S. and Canada.