Grantee Spotlight: News Literacy Project

News Literacy ProjectWho they are: The News Literacy Project is an innovative national educational program that is mobilizing seasoned journalists to help middle school and high school students sort fact from fiction in the digital age.
What they do: The project’s primary aim is to teach students the critical thinking skills they need to be smarter and more frequent consumers and creators of credible information across all media and platforms. Students learn how to distinguish verified information from raw messages, spin, gossip and opinion and are encouraged to seek news and information that will make them well-informed citizens and voters.
Why it matters: The area of news literacy has gained important attention in recent years as the news and information landscape continues to undergo rapid and radical changes. Ever since the rise of cable news networks and the 24-hour news cycle, consumers have experienced an explosion of sources for information, especially on the Internet. Navigating these sources, and understanding the varying levels of bias and credibility that they employ, pose significant challenges for everyone.
What they’re doing about it: The current generation of young people, known as “Digital Natives,” arguably have more opportunities for civic engagement than any other, but likely face unprecedented levels of misinformation and distortion as well. The project creates partnerships between active and retired journalists and social studies, history and English teachers and after-school media clubs. The partners create units on why news matters to young people, what the First Amendment and a free media in a democracy mean and how to identify reliable information.
Current Projects: With McCormick funding, NLP is partnering with Mt. Vernon Elementary School on the south side of Chicago to create a news and media literacy curriculum. NLP also will be working with the Chicago Park Districts and After School Matters on after-school news literacy programs.
Impact: In 2010, NLP worked with approximately 1200 students in Chicago and over 1900 in New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Bethesda, Maryland, and partnered with many prominent news organizations including, USA Today, ABC News, NPR, CNN, The Associated Press and The New York Times
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