This communication is intended to clarify how LMA works with Google and Facebook, in light of recent discussions about the platforms’ impact on journalism and the media business.

Local Media Association is intensely focused on helping local media companies discover new and sustainable business models.

Increasingly for us and our members, that means collaborating with Google and Facebook to explore new technology and business models.

In January, we launched The Branded Content Project, along with our partner, Local Media Consortium. The Facebook Journalism Project invested $1 million in this initiative. The current seven alpha partners benefit from focus groups with advertisers and grant money to test new approaches. In the fall, 20 more media companies will participate in our beta round.

In March, we launched the Google News Initiative Digital Subscriptions Lab with partner FTI Consulting. Ten newspapers currently participate in the program that includes extensive benchmarking and consulting services from FTI and significant resources from LMA and Google aimed at driving significant digital subscription growth.

In May, we launched the GNI Data Lab with partner Deloitte. The lab was designed to help news organizations transform their businesses through strategic data use. Six media companies were selected to take advantage of this program that includes nearly a week of consulting time from Deloitte along with resources from LMA and Google.

We’re also working with Google and Facebook on other significant projects. Facebook funded our Local News Resource Center. Its director, Emilie Lutostanski, helps hundreds of media companies with their social strategies and runs the Social Media Club, which provides training, case studies and best practices to content managers.

We’re a partner in the Google-funded MediaWise program with Poynter and Stanford University. This program is doing amazing work with media literacy, teaching young people how to discern fake news from real news.

Google funded our Chief Diversity and Inclusion Club led by Ryan Browning from global HR consulting firm Mercer. We’re helping media companies with their D&I strategies. Google also funds 50 scholarships for underrepresented individuals to attend our fall conference each year.

Over 50 different media companies directly benefit from these projects and resources, including newspapers, broadcasters and digital news sites with a mix of ownership structures and market sizes. The goal is to share all of the learnings with the entire industry, maximizing the impact and helping every local media company in the process.

We prefer to take a cooperative and collaborative approach. This approach does not mean we don’t have tough conversations. In fact, we have a lot of them.

Today we are announcing the formation of an LMA/Google task force to deal specifically with industry challenges. This group will meet monthly with Jason Washing, Director of Global Partnerships – News, and other executives. LMA will be represented by board members who understand the challenges and are willing to bring solutions to the table, and LMA President Nancy Lane.

LMA is a collaborator and a convener. It’s at the heart of everything we do. We’re proud of the work we are doing with Google and Facebook and look forward to tackling the many challenges we have together in a professional and productive manner.