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School of journalism and DMZ partner with Facebook to make digital news incubator

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By Sylvia Lorico 

The Ryerson School of Journalism along with the Digital Media Zone (DMZ) are partnering with Facebook to launch a digital news incubator, the first of its kind in Canada.

The announcement is part of Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly’s  restructuring of Canada’s cultural policy called Creative Canada. 

“As more publications add mobile versions or move fully online, what’s important to Canadians is that they continue to publish original Canadian content, and that our programs provide the support they need to innovate, adapt and transition onto the platforms Canadians choose,” said Joly in a speech to the Economic Club of Canada on Thursday.

“Our approach will not be to bail out industry models that are no longer viable. Rather, we will focus on supporting innovation, experimentation and transition to digital.”

It is unclear exactly what this incubator will look like and what it will offer to the public. However, Joly mentioned in her speech that participants would receive “start-up funding and mentorship to contribute to the digital development of journalism.”

Joly asserted in her speech that while media platforms and viewers have a responsibility to contribute to the goals, she expects that news aggregators, like Facebook and internet companies, do the same.

“We must find a new way—a Canadian way—to support our content creators, to ensure they can compete, and to create a space for them in markets and platforms at home and around the world,” she said.

The announcement comes at a time when more media outlets are transitioning into the digital landscape. This transition has resulted in decreasing advertising revenues and layoffs from both local papers and larger outlets, such as the Toronto Star who had to lay off 30 employees in June following the closure of their Star Touch tablet app.

More to come. 

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