Google has launched the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund through the Google News Initiative to support small and medium-sized news organizations producing original news for local communities. The fund’s aim is to provide support in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Google says. Operating globally, it will provide an easily accessible route to financial assistance at this critical time, Google says.

Facebook is looking at how coronavirus is changing the way publishers ask for reader support. On March 30, the social media giant announced an additional $100 million investment to support the news industry — $25 million in emergency grant funding for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project and $75 million in additional marketing spend to move money over to news organizations around the world.  

• Starting this Saturday, the Joplin Globe (Missouri) will stop production of its print paper on Mondays and Saturdays. The Globe will replace those days with expanded electronic versions of its e-papers.

• As many as 200 Australian newspapers are prepared to shutter in coming months due to the global pandemic, the Daily Mail reported.

Omnicom Group Chairman and CEO John Wren informed employees in a memo that furloughs and staff cuts will take place “across many of our agencies,” Ad Age reported. Wren also said that he will be foregoing his entire salary to the end of September and Omnicom’s executive leadership team is lowering their salaries by a third. The firm agencies will participate in global government subsidy programs to reduce the overall staff cuts, the memo said. Omnicom agencies include DDB, TBWA, BBDO, PHD and Omnicom Media Group.

• The parent company of The Los Angeles Times is furloughing 40 employees for as long as 16 weeks, reducing senior managers’ pay and suspending 401(k) matches in response to the coronavirus pandemic, The New York Times reported

Union staff who belong to the NewsGuild are not affected. California Times President Chris Argentieri said the company would convene with union reps to talk about “cost-saving initiatives,” NYT said.

In a posting on Twitter, the L.A. Times Guild said it was “troubled” to learn of the moves affecting the business side, even though those workers aren’t members of the union. The union said that on April 20, it would hold a membership meeting to discuss the NewsGuild’s proposal for a national stimulus program for local news.


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