Spring/Summer 2022

Program Overview 


The objective of the News Literacy Fellowship Program is to improve education and civic engagement for students by involving district leaders in the development and implementation of news and media literacy learning. The program seeks to:

  • Deliver a sustainable and replicable district plan for implementing news and media literacy.
  • Create a community of administrators, curriculum directors, instructional coaches, discipline leads and teachers within a district who share expertise and collaborate with NLP on news and media literacy education issues. 
  • Involve administrators and educators who work daily with students and teachers in developing a district-wide implementation plan that impacts classrooms and schools.
  • Highlight practitioners’ voices and expand educators’ critical leadership in the area of news and media literacy at the national, state and local levels.

About the Fellowship

The next generation is at a significant civic disadvantage because they are vulnerable to misinformation, cynical about most news and information they encounter and unprepared to discern fact from fiction. Education leaders and policymakers across the country already recognize the critical thinking skills necessary for students to combat misinformation and actively participate in civic life. While media literacy mandates gain momentum across the country, the media literacy field in practice lacks both definition and classroom materials that reflect the way students consume information. With your help, we can move toward overcoming this challenge. The News Literacy Fellowship Program, a two-year commitment, invites proposals from district leaders who wish to partner with NLP to design and execute innovative and sustainable initiatives to embed news and media literacy education into their districts. The program champions the news literacy approach to media literacy education at the district level, providing professional learning, curriculum and a community to help fellows meet the requirements of participation. 

Fellowship Opportunity

Each year, a new cohort of fellows from around the country is selected to reimagine district-wide media literacy learning, creating a positive and lasting community impact. Fellows will spend the first year working with NLP and their district stakeholders to design an action plan for news literacy implementation in their district. Fellows will spend the second year implementing their proposals. 

Proposals will include a holistic approach to news literacy teaching and learning, which may involve professional development/learning, creating instructional strategies, a scaffolded curriculum approach, student-centered learning models or project-based learning that addresses ways to develop and expand students’ news and media literacy. All fellowship proposals should include a timeline of design and implementation within the span of the two-year fellowship. Proposals also should include a budget for spending the $10,000 (per year) fellowship stipend. 

Year 1: Preparation 

  • Participate in initial introduction and additional professional learning opportunities to increase understanding of news and media literacy at the local and state levels. (Travel may be required.) 
  • Perform a needs assessment to identify grades and disciplines best suited for news/media literacy.
  • Create an action plan to guide year two of the fellowship (aligned to research-based best practices, initiative implementation science including NLP curriculum and resources, plus additional support). 
  • Identify a district implementation team to support action plan, continuous learning, data collection and construction of innovation configuration maps.
  • Submit detailed quarterly updates that demonstrate progress to goals, professional learning attendance and budget spent.

Year 2: Implementation 

  • Provide professional learning and support for the district’s leadership team and whole staff.
  • Utilize NLP coaching and on-site visits to ensure fidelity of initiative implementation. 
  • Submit detailed quarterly reports that demonstrate progress to goals, professional learning attendance, coaching, implementation and budget spend-down.
  • Submit implementation data collected at the end of each semester of implementation.
  • Share fellowship experience and student achievement gains in news/media literacy at conferences, including learning opportunities sponsored by NLP. 

Application timeline and process

Applications to the NLP Fellowship Program are open to public school districts, with preference given to the following states: California, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Washington. The application allows one administrator and two staff members per cohort. Stipends will be given to the district and managed by the institution’s fiscal agent/business manager. The NLP fellowship is a two-year commitment for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 academic years. 

  • April 15: Fellowship application opens.
  • May 27, 2022, 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time: Application submission deadline.
  • June 1 – 30, 2022: Review period, selection and notification.
  • June 30, 2022: Fellows announced.
  • July 1, 2022: Start date of fellowship with introduction to fellowship program in preparation for the 2022-2023 academic year.
  • Fall 2022 – May 31, 2023: Year one of fellowship; design and preparation.
  • June 1, 2022 – May 31, 2023: Year two of fellowship; pilot implementation.
  • July 1, 2023 – May 31, 2024: Full implementation.

Who should apply: Eligible applicants include current public school district leaders, administrators or curriculum directors with preference given to the following states: California, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Tennessee and Utah. Every applicant must secure a commitment signature from the institution’s lead administrator. 

Application Components

A completed fellowship application includes:

  • Approval from institution’s lead administrator.
  • A preliminary district-wide plan for news literacy education. The final, detailed plan will be created during year one of the fellowship. The preliminary plan must include:
    • No more than 10, double-spaced pages.
    • A timeline for implementation of the plan.
    • A budget that includes specifics for how the district plans to spend $10,000 each year.

How Applications Are Evaluated

All applications are screened and reviewed by teams of NLP staff members. The most highly rated applicants may be asked to participate in a virtual interview. All applicants will be notified about their progress in the application and selection process. All materials within the application are peer-reviewed and will be assessed against the key qualities we seek in NLP Fellows. Key qualities include:

  • Likelihood of success and sustainability.
  • Clear alignment to the fellowship vision and goals.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • School system support.
  • Demonstrable contributions to student learning around news and media literacy.
  • Effective leadership skills.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • Commitment to civic engagement.

About NLP

Founded in 2008, the News Literacy Project is a national nonpartisan education nonprofit that empowers educators to teach middle school and high school students how to sort fact from fiction in the digital age. Our central offering is the Checkology® virtual classroom, an online e-learning platform. Since the platform was introduced in 2016, almost 60,000 teachers have registered to use it in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories and 113 other countries.

Each spring, NLP will select a new cohort of fellows to join the program through an open application cycle. NLP chooses fellows based on their innovative approach to expanding and implementing news and media literacy education in their districts. Whatever your idea, its creation should benefit your school district. NLP will work with you to publish regular updates and share outcomes. The final product of your fellowship must be an implementation plan to expand news literacy education in your district.

Please direct questions and submit completed applications to Shaelynn Farnsworth, sfarnsworth@newslit.org with “Fellowship Program” in the subject line

News Literacy District Fellows Program Application 

View the application here.