The first year of Facebook Digital Journalism Trainings, first launched last year by Facebook in partnership with Kadir Has University and Habitat Association (Habitat), has been completed with its nineteenth and last session held in December.

Within the scope of the program, 1,050 journalists and journalism students from 62 provinces of Turkey, 54% of whom were women, were provided with various trainings on the effective use of Facebook and Instagram in journalism. The trainings, which were held face to face at Facebook Istasyon in Istanbul before the outbreak, were completed online due to Covid-19 measures.

Available and free for all journalists and journalism students, the trainings included sessions focused on targeting audience building on Facebook and Instagram, and on storytelling through videos using Facebook and Instagram features such as Facebook Live, Facebook Watch, Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Reels. In addition, participants were provided with information on misinformation, fact-checking, copyrights restrictions and hate speech.

Stating that billions of people from all over the world come to Facebook to learn about the developments in the world and to be informed, Facebook Media Partnerships Manager Eren Sağır said they are aware of their responsibility, and continued;

“With this responsibility, we offer trainings, grant opportunities, scholarships and various programs to journalists and journalism students around the world, so that they can get the digital skills they need and use social media in an effective way. With this program, which we have launched last year in partnership Kadir Has University and Habitat, our goal was to help journalists in our country engage in high-quality journalism on our platforms and be able to find jobs in this field.

I can happily say that we have reached more than a thousand journalists in the first year of our program. In the upcoming period, we will continue to fight misinformation in Turkey, support news literacy, invest in new initiatives and improve journalism on our platform.”

Kadir Has University Head of New Media Department and the program’s academic advisor, Assoc. Prof. Eylem Yanardağoğlu, expressed her happiness over the fact that Kadir Has University New Media graduates were chosen to provide these trainings, which Facebook launched for journalists in different countries around the world, in Turkey. “In today’s world, where the digital transformation of journalism is progressing at a rapid pace, improving production in these channels will pave the way for both media and journalism”, said Yanardağoğlu, adding that young people’s interest in these trainings was a clear sign of this transformation.

Stating that while taking advantage of the opportunities of being free in digital journalism, where interaction is much faster and more intense, one should be careful about accurate and reliable news sources, Habitat Association Chairman Sezai Hazır continued:

“Digital technologies that impact every aspect of life are transforming the written, visual and auditory media at the same speed as well. At this point, it becomes imperative for journalists to keep up with this transformation. The development of digital skills and competencies is equally important in order to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digital media, and to use this field

skillfully and accurately. I think this training meets a great need for communication students, journalists and social media experts who are new to digital media.”

Media professionals who participated in the trainings emphasized that digitalization and social media are now an important part of their business and made the following statements;

Cem Seymen, Television Program Developer and Economist – CNN Turk: “The society now has the opportunity to evaluate the journalist it follows, in a democratic and objective way. Digital journalism offers endless opportunities in this sense. It is essential that communication students and social media experts know the intricacies of this historical opportunity that will expand the limits of freedoms.”

Arzu Çekirge Paksoy, Columnist – Posta Newspaper: “Digitalization and social media are now an important part of our business; and social media as well as traditional channels need to be well understood, to follow innovations and to adapt quickly.”

Perihan Çakıroğlu, Feature Writer on Economy – Haber Analiz: “Digital media has taken the lead in reaching the public for us journalists. The correct and effective use of social media is very important for both young people studying at communication faculties and us professionals.”

Murat Kıvanç, Editor – ntv.com.tr: “As leading editors, we must hone our skills and always keep ourselves updated by following new tools and social media. Community Groups and Facebook Creator Studio in particular will help us make a difference in our business.”

Bengül Büyükhan Arıca, Editor – Demirören News Agency (DHA): “As digital news editors, these trainings are very important for us. Because digital media is changing very fast. New tools and concepts I learned during the sessions will be useful in my career and profession.”

Selim Öztürk, Journalist – Hürriyet com.tr: “As a journalist, of course, what we want the most is to be able to have our news read by as many people as possible. Social media is therefore significant and, in this context, it is very important to learn and follow innovations almost immediately.”

Mücahit Yolcu, Reporter – Demirören News Agency (DHA): “Together with technology, we have to keep up with the developing communication tools as a requirement of our profession. Especially how we should use social media more effectively and safely is very important for us.”

Facebook Journalism Project will continue to support meaningful reporting and strengthen communities by partnering with news publishers around the world.