The Osprey Observer team, which now holds staff meetings virtually, was recently awarded a grant from the Facebook Journalism Program to aid in COVID-19 coverage.

The Facebook Journalism Project (FJP) recently awarded Community Network grants to 400 North American local news rooms to support coronavirus reporting. The Osprey Observer team was thrilled to be among them.

“Local journalism is vital now more than ever and we hope that this investment can assist The Osprey Observer newsroom with reporting accurate information for Florida communities,” said Josh Mabry, Local News Partnerships lead at Facebook. “The Facebook Journalism Project is pleased to offer a small grant to support their reporting during these challenging times.”

Each of the newsrooms, which are located in 48 U.S. states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and several provinces and territories in Canada, will receive $5,000 to cover unexpected costs associated with reporting on the crisis in their communities. The Osprey Observer was one of eight in Florida, including WEDU Tampa and The Tampa Bay Times.

The program is run in partnership with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Local Media Association (LMA) in the U.S., News Media Canada and The Independent News Challenge in Canada.

“The Osprey Observer was so honored to receive notification that we were selected by the Facebook Journalism Project to receive a newsroom grant to continue our coverage of COVID-19 and stories of hope in our community,” said Osprey Observer Managing Editor Marie Gilmore.

This is the second round of grants from the FJP. Fifty recipients were announced in late March and FJP doubled the total grant pool to $2 million after more than 200 publishers applied in the first 48 hours after the application launched.

The grants will help fulfill needs such as remote work, increased frequency of publishing, combating misinformation and serving vulnerable and at-risk groups.

Facebook also recently announced a separate $1 million in grants to support fact checkers and $25 million in relief grants with the goal of helping fulfill immediate needs such as increasing frequency of publishing, tools to work remotely, combating misinformation and serving vulnerable and at-risk groups.

To learn more about the Facebook Journalism Program, search for the group on Facebook. Visit to see updated coverage of local news.

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.