Facebook says service hindered by lack of local news

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is having trouble establishing a service providing its users with local news and information because of the lack of original reporting outlets.

The service was established last year and is currently available in some 400 cities in the United States. But the social media giant said 40 percent of Americans live in places where its technicians couldn’t find enough local news stories to support it.

Facebook announced Monday it is making its research on local news available to academics who are studying the extent of news deserts created by newspaper closures and staff downsizing.

It also plans to award some 100 grants, ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, to people with ideas for making more news available.