NLP Honors its 2023 News Literacy Change-Makers

Educator, student, journalist honored 
for commitment to combating misinformation

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 5, 2023 — The News Literacy Project today named the recipients of the 2023 News Literacy Change-Maker awards, an annual recognition that honors an educator, a journalist and a student who have done outstanding work to help establish a more news-literate future.

This year’s winners are Chicago educator Alba Mendiola, WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore, and Gwinnett County, Georgia, student Ana Sesma. These honorees are news literacy change-makers who have shown dedication to ensuring that more people learn the skills they need to resist misinformation and identify credible news sources in today’s chaotic information environment.

“We proudly honor this year’s Change-Makers for their unique contributions to the movement for a more news-literate America, where everyone is a fully informed and equal participant in our democracy,” said Charles Salter, president and CEO of NLP. “Together, we can elevate facts over fear and ensure a brighter, more equitable future for our country.”

The honorees will receive their awards at a ceremony in Washington, D. C. on June 8, which will include videos about their backgrounds and accomplishments. Read more about each winner below or visit Celebrating News Literacy Change-Makers.

Alan C. Miller Educator of the Year

Alba Mendiola, an Emmy-award winning journalist turned educator at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, is the 2023 Alan C. Miller Educator of the Year. Mendiola created a dual language broadcast journalism course in English and Spanish to serve the student population, which comes largely from families of recent immigrants. As an immigrant herself, Mendiola saw the need to help Spanish-speaking students and those from underserved communities —like the one she teaches in — become more news-literate.

“I’m very honored to receive this award because it’s not just for me. This award also recognizes the need for news literacy among the Latino communities,” she said.

In this video, hear Mendiola speak of her love of teaching and helping students become more news-literate.

John S. Carroll Journalist of the Year

Natalie Y. Moore, a reporter who covers race, class and communities at WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR affiliate, is this year’s John S. Carroll Journalist of the Year. Through her enterprise reporting, Moore has tackled race, housing, economic development, food injustice and violence. She is the author of several books, including The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation, winner of the 2016 Chicago Review of Books award for nonfiction. Moore has been involved in NLP’s work almost from the start, as one of its first classroom volunteers. Most recently, she helped develop NLP’s newest Checkology® lesson, “Harm & Distrust,” which explores the history of racist mainstream news coverage. She also is the on-camera host for the lesson.

“I was surprised to receive the John S. Carroll Journalist of the Year. But it’s always an honor to be recognized by your peers and by people whom you admire,” she said. “I believe that having a skill set around news literacy is helpful to equip people to be better citizens of democracy.”

In this video, Moore discusses how an important aspect of journalism is its ability to spark social change.

Gwen Ifill Student of the Year

Ana Sesma, a senior at Mill Creek High School in Gwinnett County, Georgia, is the 2023 Gwen Ifill Student of the Year. Sesma was nominated by her language arts teacher, Erin Wilder, who said, “Ana has a grasp of the world beyond our high school and the ‘bubble’ of her peers. The work Ana did in class has helped change how she engages with information and media and given her a fuller perspective and the ability and understanding of the importance of analyzing sources and content.”

Sesma acknowledges that the honor recognizes her excellence as a student of news literacy but also comes with a certain responsibility. “In being named the Gwen Ifill Student of the Year, I have some responsibility, especially to those around me, or that are closer to me, to be able to correct bias or the wrong sources that they have, and make sure people are a little more news-literate than they originally were,” she said.

In this video, Sesma shares how the flood of information on social media can have a toxic impact on teens and how news literacy skills help young people become more resilient.

About Alan C. Miller

Alan C. Miller is the founder and CEO of the News Literacy Project, the largest provider of news literacy education in the country. He was a reporter with the Los Angeles Times for 21 years, spending 19 of them in the paper’s Washington bureau before leaving in 2008 to establish NLP. He previously worked at The Times Union in Albany, New York, and The Record in Hackensack, New Jersey. Miller has won more than a dozen national reporting honors, including the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. In 2020, Miller was named a Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian magazine. In 2021, he won the AARP Purpose Prize.

About John S. Carroll 

Named for one of the most revered newspaper editors of his generation, the John S. Carroll Journalist of the Year Award is given annually to journalists who have contributed significantly to NLP and its mission. The honorees, who receive $500 and a glass plaque with an etched photo of Carroll, are selected by a committee of NLP board members and staff. During an acclaimed journalism career spanning four decades, Carroll was the editor of three major U.S. newspapers — the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader, The Baltimore Sun and the Los Angeles Times. He was a founding member of NLP’s board and served as its chair for four years until shortly before his death in 2015.

About Gwen Ifill 

The Gwen Ifill Student of the Year Award honors the trailblazing journalist — and longtime NLP supporter and board member — who died in 2016. It is presented to female students of color who represent the values Ifill brought to journalism. A highly respected, award-winning journalist, Ifill was the first Black woman to host a national political talk show on television as moderator of Washington Week, and she was a member (with Judy Woodruff) of the first female co-anchor team of a national news broadcast, on PBS NewsHour.

About the News Literacy Project

The News Literacy Project, the nation’s leading provider of news literacy education, is a nonpartisan education nonprofit that 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.