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Facebook Journalism Project, the DMZ and Ryerson School of Journalism team up to launch the “Digital News Innovation Challenge”’

TORONTO, November 28, 2017 – Throughout the world, innovative technologies and industry challenges are transforming how people create, access and consume news.

Facebook Journalism Project today announced a partnership with the DMZ – the leading university-based business incubator in North America – and the Ryerson School of Journalism at FCAD (the Faculty of Communication and Design). The partnership will support Canada’s leading digital news ideas and early-stage tech companies whose missions are to drive innovation for journalism and news organizations.

The program, called the “Digital News Innovation Challenge,” will provide five startups with five months of incubation at Sandbox, the DMZ’s skills development space offering tailored support to entrepreneurial ideas and early-stage startups. Selected participants will gain access to high-calibre senior growth mentors; exclusive workshops designed by leading Canada’s experts in digital news; a dedicated workspace in the heart of downtown Toronto; and the chance to work with influential investors, journalists, experts and researchers.

“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. “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.”

During the five fast-paced months, each of the finalists will receive up to $100,000 in non-dilutive seed capital and $50,000 in Facebook marketing budget, which will be broken up in increments. The program will culminate in a demo day where each startup will present their company to a panel of judges, mentors and industry leaders.

Founders and aspiring entrepreneurs from across Canada tackling a compelling problem within the Canadian digital news and journalism landscape are invited to apply starting January 28, 2018 for one of five placements. The opportunity will be awarded to ideas and startups that have a robust lean canvas business model, a collaborative leadership team and innovative digital news and storytelling ideas that can be turned into sustainable businesses.

“Canada is a key market where innovators, influencers and investors are shaping the digital media sector on a global scale,” said Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University. “Our goal with this Canada-wide program will be to support and stimulate innovation in journalism, while developing a more sustainable news ecosystem through ongoing collaboration between the tech and news sectors.”

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

Applications to the Digital News Innovation Challenge will open on January 25, 2018 and will close on March 9, 2018. For more information, eligibility and to apply, visit -.


About DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University:

The DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University is the leading business incubator for technology startups in Canada. The top-ranked university incubator in North America and third in the world, it helps high-potential startups grow and scale their business by connecting them with customers, capital, coaches and a community of innovators. Since launching in 2010, it has incubated 312 startups that have raised $391 million in seed funding and have fostered the creation of more than 2,960 jobs. For more information, visit

About the Ryerson School of Journalism at FCAD:

One of the top-ranked journalism schools in Canada, the Ryerson School of Journalism at FCAD has been educating journalists and pushing the boundaries of journalism for nearly seven decades. With highly experienced and award-winning faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and close connections to industry, the RSJ is at the forefront of knowledge creation, practical change and hands-on learning for the future of journalism in Canada.

FCAD, the Faculty of Communication and Design, is Toronto Metropolitan University’s creative innovation hub. Home to nine of Canada’s premiere schools in media, communication and design, FCAD provides unique experiential programs in undergraduate and graduate study and is home to three entrepreneurial zones.

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