The Sumter Item among 30 North American newsrooms selected for Facebook's Accelerator program


The Sumter Item was selected into an international program designed to help news publishers build sustainable businesses, the Facebook Journalism Project announced Tuesday.

The Accelerator, Facebook’s premier business training program for news publishers, brings newsrooms together for hands-on workshops led by news industry veterans, grant money to test, implement, and iterate strategies, and inspiration from similar newsrooms.

“As a family-owned, local newsroom based in Sumter, we’re thrilled to be recognized in such elite company for local media,” Sumter Item Publisher Vince Johnson said. “We’re committed to bringing the Sumter region the absolute best for years to come, and this is a big step along that journey.”

Thirty participants were selected from nearly 300 applications by Facebook staff, Local Media Association staff and Accelerator coaches based on a demonstrated impact on their community, commitment to the program’s requirements and their readiness to pursue their biggest business opportunities, the release states.

Geographically, these newsrooms represent 16 US states, one US territory (Guam), and three Canadian provinces. The Item is the only South Carolina newsroom in this year’s program. The Post and Courier in Charleston is an alumni of the program.

During three years of the Accelerator program, roughly 175 newsrooms have built substantial audiences while participating in 13 Accelerators around the world.

“The Facebook Journalism Project is proud to support this endeavor. Newsrooms have shown that transformation is real and can happen faster than we ever thought possible,” the release says.