Pro journalists throughout central Florida received a crash course in Facebook from an expert.

On Nov. 1, SPJ Florida teamed up with leadership at the Orlando Sentinel to host a free, two hour workshop open to all local media.

The session was hosted by Lynn Walsh — the Project Manager for the Trusting News Project and a past president of SPJ, which formed a formal partnership with Facebook last year.

About 30 people — with a mix of TV, radio and digital focus — attended the workshop.

“There was a lot of interest in using 360 photos and videos to engage with a Facebook audience,” Walsh told SPJ Florida. “I introduced the new 360 photo capability built into the Facebook app. It allows anyone, without a 360 camera to create a 360 photo, it basically shows everything that exists in the 180 degree plane that’s in front of you.

Walsh said the 360 photo integration could work well for covering weather events, breathtaking views, rallies and protests, or anywhere else large groups of people are.

During the session, Walsh also went over topics including the value of adding Instagram stories and professional Facebook pages.

“I stressed how amazing Instagram and Facebook stories can be for users,” she said. “News organizations can really capitalize on these tools to engage a potentially younger and different audience while providing them with local news they need and building brand awareness.”

Are you interested in hosting a Facebook training session in your newsroom or for your media group? If you’re in Florida, contact spjflorida@gmail.com. If you’re outside of Florida, visit www.spj.org/facebook.asp for more information.

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