Facebook launches 'certificate' for journalists offering training on tools to improve audience engagement

Facebook has launched a certificate for journalists that offers free online training in how to make posts on the social network more engaging to readers and viewers, before taking a final test.

Journalists who enroll on the Facebook for Journalists Certificate will be shown how to use Facebook Live, Instant Articles and 360-degree video to better “connect and engage” with their online audience.

There is also a training course on using picture-sharing site Instagram, which was bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1bn (£629m).

The initiative is part of the Facebook Journalism Project.

In a blog post this week, Facebook said: “With these free online courses, Facebook and Poynter seek to make it easier for journalists to utilize Facebook and Instagram in their daily work — from newsgathering to storytelling to engaging with their followers.

“The courses are co-written by Poynter and Facebook, with a final assessment designed by Poynter to test proficiency of the curriculum.

“Course enrollees who pass Poynter’s written assessment will receive a certificate of completion, recognized by both Facebook and Poynter, via Blueprint, our e-learning system.

“This curriculum is important to us because it pairs product knowledge, case studies, and tips from Facebook with journalistic guidance from Poynter.”

Kelly McBride, vice president of the Poynter Institute, said: “You can’t do journalism these days without Facebook. It’s a privilege to team up on this definitive guide for journalists. The information contained in these courses is fundamental to reporting and distributing the news.”

It is understood that none of the course material focuses on the practical, legal or ethical aspects of news reporting or broadcasting.

Facebook said it created the certificate after listening to “journalists across the globe who asked for a single destination where they could learn about Facebook’s products, tools and services for use in their work”.

It added: “These free e-learning courses will help journalists get the most out of Facebook, and each is designed with an emphasis on the three core pillars of the news cycle: discovering content, creating stories and building an audience.

“Each module includes best practices and guidelines, plus inspirational case studies featuring journalists who have used Facebook successfully.”