Join us to create a more news-literate America

Our ambitious four-year plan

We're embarking on an ambitious four-year strategic plan to transform our singular mission into a national movement, and we want you to be a part of it.

Over the next four years, we will mobilize news literacy practitioners — educators, students and the public — to collectively push back against misinformation in all its forms. This work will move us much closer to changing cultural attitudes toward mis- and disinformation, mirroring previous successful public education efforts that targeted smoking, drunken driving and littering.

Our goal is to build a more news-literate nation, and in turn, a more robust, equitable democracy.

Read our strategic plan

Our mission

The News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan education nonprofit, is building a national movement to advance the practice of news literacy throughout American society, creating better informed, more engaged and more empowered individuals — and ultimately a stronger democracy.

Our vision

News literacy is an integral part of American life, and people of all ages and backgrounds know how to identify credible news and other information and understand the indispensable role a free press has in a democracy, empowering them to play a more equal and active role in the civic life of the country.

Our theory of change

IMPACT (Vision)News literacy is an integral part of American life, and people of all ages and backgrounds know how to identify credible news and other information and understand the indispensable role a free press has in a democracy, empowering them to play a more equal and active role in the civic life of the country.
OUTCOMES (Mission)The News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan education nonprofit, is building a national movement to advance the practice of news literacy throughout American society, creating better informed, more engaged and more empowered individuals — and ultimately a stronger democracy.

OUTPUTS (Goals) NLP will support and influence the emerging media literacy movement by promoting news literacy – teaching students how to think about news and information, not what to think – convincing educators, administrators and policymakers that this approach to media literacy can fuel an achievable national movement that prepares students of all backgrounds for active civic life.

OUTPUTS (Goals)NLP will raise the awareness and practice of news literacy all across the country – creating a sea change in thinking and behavior, much like successful public efforts addressing littering, smoking and drunken driving – and empowering people to actively and collectively push back against the spread of disinformation.

OUTPUTS (Goals)NLP will be recognized for living its organizational principles, respected as a model employer and supported at levels and in manners that enable the organization to continue to innovate and grow and ultimately realize its vision of a news literate society

Engaging Education Systems

Pillar I

Empowering the General Public

Pillar II

Ensuring Our Sustainability

Pillar III

OUTPUTS (Goals) NLP will support and influence the emerging media literacy movement by promoting news literacy – teaching students how to think about news and information, not what to think – convincing educators, administrators and policymakers that this approach to media literacy can fuel an achievable national movement that prepares students of all backgrounds for active civic life.

Engaging Education Systems

Pillar I

OUTPUTS (Goals)NLP will raise the awareness and practice of news literacy all across the country – creating a sea change in thinking and behavior, much like successful public efforts addressing littering, smoking and drunk driving – and empowering people to actively and collectively push back against the spread of disinformation.

Empowering the General Public

Pillar II

OUTPUTS (Goals)NLP will be recognized for living its organizational principles, respected as a model employer and supported at levels and in manners that enable the organization to continue to innovate and grow and ultimately realize its vision of a news literate society

Ensuring Our Sustainability

Pillar III


What is news literacy?

News literacy is a foundational approach to media literacy identified by:

A pedagogy that seeks to teach learners HOW to think about their news and information and not WHAT to think about any particular source.
An emphasis on developing a healthy skepticism, but not a cynicism, of news and information.
A dedication to the First Amendment and a conviction that a free press is a cornerstone of democracy.
A nonpartisan focus on specific, clear learning standards.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are several fields of practice focused on teaching students to be critical consumers of media. Media literacy generally refers to a broad discipline that seeks to teach students how to access, analyze, evaluate, create and take action using all forms of communication (including entertainment media). News literacy is focused on helping students understand the role that credible information and a free press play in their lives and in a robust democracy, and seeks to help them determine the credibility of news and other information. Information literacy is aligned with library sciences and seeks to help students find, evaluate, and use information effectively. Digital literacy aims to teach students how to use information and communications technologies in effective, responsible and ethical ways.

Misinformation and the lack of news literacy have created an existential threat to our democracy. As a result, there is an urgent need for news literacy for people of all ages.

A free and independent press and the ability to determine whether information is credible are necessary for the future of a healthy democracy. News literacy teaches about the importance of a free press in our democracy, including how to recognize and demand standards-based journalism, which builds an appreciation for quality journalism. Relying on the standards of fact-based journalism as an aspirational yardstick is the best way to measure the credibility of news and other information.

Misinformation affects everything in our daily lives – from our health care, to our finances, to our personal values. And if we can’t agree on a set of basic facts, then we can’t make well-informed decisions about our lives and our governance.

Consider these findings from an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll in January 2020 and the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, respectively:

  • 59% of Americans say it is hard to identify false information — intentionally misleading and inaccurate stories portrayed as truth — on social media.
  • 63% of people worldwide agree that the average person can’t tell good journalism from rumors or falsehoods.

A Stanford History Education Group 2019 study found that young people, while digital natives, are just as vulnerable:

  • 96% didn’t consider why ties between a climate change website and the fossil fuel industry might lessen the site’s credibility.
  • 68% couldn’t tell the difference between news and “sponsored content” (advertising) on a news site’s homepage.
  • 52% believed that a grainy video of ballot-stuffing — actually shot in Russia — was “strong evidence” of voter fraud in the U.S.

Foreign adversaries and domestic bad actors have used misinformation against us in the past, and actively engaged in spreading false information to sow confusion and division during the 2020 campaign.

The best way to fight misinformation and minimize its harm is to have a well-informed public that has the ability to discern and reject false information.

We have made assessing our work a priority since we first started working in classrooms, and the results demonstrate that news literacy education works.

During the 2019-2020 school year, after completing Checkology lessons:

  • Nearly nine in 10 students (87%) could correctly identify the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment.
  • Two-thirds of students could correctly identify the traits of quality journalism.
  • The number of students demonstrating an understanding of the watchdog role of the press more than doubled.
  • More than four-fifths of students (82%) said in a survey that they intend to increase their civic participation.
  • More than nine in 10 teachers (93%) said in a survey that Checkology was better than other e-learning tools they have used in the classroom.

We are a nonpartisan, national education nonprofit. We do not tell people what sources to trust, or distrust; rather, we teach the critical thinking skills for people to make those judgments by themselves. Misinformation comes from the political right and left and from foreign and domestic sources, and we share examples of all types.

Members of our board of directors and our National Leadership Council have worked across the political spectrum and have backgrounds in education, journalism, communications, business and nonprofits.

Our funders are also diverse, and our programs and education content are developed and implemented wholly independent of any funder’s influence.

NLP's programs and resources reach educators and students in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Notably, we see our signature digital learning platform, the Checkology® virtual classroom, being used in geographic areas that represent the full political and ideological spectrum — from Birmingham, Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; and Lexington, South Carolina; to Brookline, Massachusetts; Spokane, Washington, and numerous other cities, counties, states and regions across the country.