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Ryerson offers $100K in funding for digital news startups

By Sylvia Lorico 

Ryerson University is offering $100,000 in funding to encourage startups to tackle changes and come up with new ideas in the changing media landscape.

The Digital Media Zone (DMZ)’s Sandbox at Ryerson has partnered up with the Ryerson School of Journalism (RSJ) and Facebook to announce the Digital News Challenge. The challenge aims to encourage new startups in the media field.

“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 in a press release.

“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 challenge comes after the RSJ formally announced a partnership with the DMZ and Facebook on Sept. 28 this year.

The program, called the “Digital News Innovation Challenge” will provide five startups with five months of incubation at Sandbox. Startups will have access to mentors, experts in the field, capital and other resources to develop an innovative business model.

“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 in the release.

“We are excited to act as mentors and bring both leading alumni and industry partners to support this project.”

During a five-month period from April to September 2018, each startup finalist will receive $100,000 in startup capital and $50,000 in Facebook marketing budget. The program will culminate in a demo day where each startup will present their startup and service.

Applications for the challenge open Jan. 25, 2018 and close March 9, 2018. Finalists will be chosen to pitch to a selection committee during March and the winning participants will be formally announced on March 29. Winning participants will be enrolled in the DMZ’s Sandbox from April to September.

More to come

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