Facebook Journalism Project seminar a resounding success

The NCTJ and Facebook held a seminar for journalists and educators at Facebook’s London offices on Thursday, 14 September.

The free seminar provided an opportunity for an audience of 100 newsroom leaders, journalism trainers, social media editors, community managers and journalists to learn more about Facebook and Instagram as platforms for news.

Jennifer Jenkins, partnerships manager at Facebook said: “It’s important to us that journalists understand how to use our products and platforms, and providing training opportunities is an important piece of the Facebook Journalism Project. Events like these allow us to share best practices and learn from one another, and we’re happy we could partner with NCTJ on this workshop.”

Facebook’s Sarah Brown and Jennifer Jenkins began the day with a session on training and tips for journalists, discussing the strategies and products that make it easier for journalists to utilise Facebook in their daily work and safety measures they can take to ensure their information is secure.

The pair provided some helpful tips:

•             DON’T repeat story headlines in posts

•             DON’T use clickbait tactics

•             DO use relevant hashtags

•             DO tag pages in your post to maximise your chance of exposure

•             DO use emoji’s in posts where appropriate

Sunil Singhvi looked at Instagram, and how journalists can utilise the app for news. Turning focus to the ‘stories’ feature, Sunil told the audience: “Don’t forget that, as journalists, you can give people an incredibly interesting insight into your world.” Sunil gave examples of broadcasters such as CNN whose journalists use personal accounts on Instagram to provide a first person narrative, and encouraged the audience to do the same.

Sunil looked at how breaking news can be covered live on the ‘stories’ feature, which is best for capturing live and engaging content.

He told the audience that real, unfiltered content encourages more engagement than pre-recorded, professionally produced footage.

Sunil also advised against focusing on the number of followers your account has alone, that it is the level of engagement that matters, which is achieved by acquiring the right type of followers.

Finally, Chris Miles spoke about CrowdTangle, the social monitoring platform for publishers recently acquired by Facebook.

The digital platform allows users to track breaking news and viral stories across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit, and makes it easy to see who has posted links to your stories, or anyone else’s for that matter.

Chris showed examples of newsrooms across the globe using big screen visualisations, tracking election coverage for example, to demonstrate how the dashboard can be customised for different needs.

He explained that currently the waiting list to be granted access to CrowdTangle is extremely long, due to the high volume of interest since the platform was made free, however a useful chrome extension that allows you to track the interactions and referrals of any web page is available to download on their website.

The inaugural seminar from the NCTJ was well received, with places being filled up weeks before the event and a waiting list of journalists and educators on hand hoping for a spot to open up.

The NCTJ’s head of development, Beverley Bailey, said: “As part of our commitment to journalism, we strive to offer continuing professional development opportunities for our stakeholders, so we are delighted to have collaborated with Facebook to deliver this event. We look forward to offering further CPD events in the near future.”

If you are interested in attending similar events, please email beverley.bailey@nctj.com