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Facebook Have Introduced a Learning Program for Journalists

The Ringer
Social media has changed the framework of many industries, and journalism is perhaps the most prominent example. If you're any kind of journalist, editor or content creator, social media is guaranteed to find its way into your work schedule. Facebook have now found a shiny new way to capitalise on this - a set of short online courses designed to build better journos.

These three courses - each one taking around 15 minutes - are designed to teach writers how to incorporate the platform's vast array of tools and features into their work. In particular, the courses focus on the 360 tool and Facebook Live. The courses were created in collaboration with Poynter, the Floridian media institute which owns the Tampa Bay Times.

Once you reach the end, you're tasked with filling out an assessment to test if everything you've been learning has really sunk in. Succeed, and you're awarded with a certificate "recognised by both Facebook and Poynter", but something tells me it won't carry much clout on your CV or LinkedIn profile.

According to reports from people who've done it, it's much more geared towards understanding how Facebook works than how to be a good journalist. Much of the information is based around using Facebook tools to boost engagement, which for most websites is the job of the social media manager, not the person who wrote the article/appeared on camera.

It seems to me that Facebook have missed a real trick here. This course could have been a way to educate people on how to verify sources properly, how to use the platform as a research resource and how it can help writers communicate and network. Instead, it blurs the lines between journalism and social media management, and only offers successful students a certificate which means virtually nothing.

Facebook are right about the fact that more journalists are utilising it as time goes by, but it's been going on for years and media companies across the world have all developed their own approaches to it, approaches which are far more time-tested and trustworthy than an online short course. If you want to get the best introduction into how to use Facebook for journalism, just ask an actual journalist.


Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum


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Facebook Have Introduced a Learning Program for Journalists Reviewed by Callum Davies on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 Rating: 5

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