Annual report: Working toward a national movement

Today, we are sharing our annual report for fiscal year 2023 (July 2022-June 2023) with our stakeholders. The report showcases what we’ve achieved during the initial months of a four-year strategic plan to transform our mission into a movement. We hope you feel inspired reading about our progress. We appreciate the continued support from our community of news literacy champions who helped make this possible.

Read the report here.

By Greg McCaffery and Chuck Salter

As we’ve seen in recent years, the continued decline of local journalism, the rise of conspiratorial thinking around a wide variety of subjects, and persistent efforts to sow distrust regarding the 2020 election results have created an increasingly urgent threat to the country’s public life. Now, artificial intelligence looms as the latest challenge to knowing what to trust.

At a time when mis- and disinformation can cause harm on a scale previously unimaginable, news literacy empowers people with the skills to navigate our complex information landscape, mitigating the detrimental effects of falsehoods about public health, democracy, social cohesion, economics, climate change and more. By elevating news literacy as an essential skill for all, we not only protect the rights and well-being of individuals — we also safeguard the fundamental values that underpin society.

As we aim to build a national movement for a more news-literate country, we are especially proud of our accomplishments this past year.

Engaging more people with engaging resources

With your support, 13,450 educators in all 50 states used our news literacy resources, reaching an estimated 2 million students.

More than 34,000 people attended our live news literacy community learning events throughout the year, and we drew more than 8,000 educators to educator-specific events and trainings.

In October 2022, we launched RumorGuard™, an interactive website that fact-checks the latest rumors and provides concrete tips for building the news literacy skills necessary to confidently evaluate online content. The public also can sign up to receive RumorGuard alerts to help push back against misinformation. In its first nine months, the website had more than 390,000 unique visitors, more than double our expectations.

Our newest Checkology® virtual classroom lesson, “Harm & Distrust,” explores how mainstream news coverage of marginalized groups has historically done significant harm, resulting in legacies of mistrust that persist today. Using coverage of Black Americans as a case history, we explore the larger topic and bring it into focus for students. The lesson explains what aspects of the practice of journalism require trust, details the harmful coverage of Black Americans throughout history, and highlights the role of the Black press. Even as it draws attention to these challenges, “Harm & Distrust” clearly acknowledges the demonstrable progress that has been made in newsrooms across the country.

We hope you feel pride as you read these accomplishments and take heart in the growing community of people using our news literacy resources. Thank you for being a champion of NLP, and we hope you will continue to share our resources with your family and friends as we pursue a more civically engaged, information-savvy America.

Greg McCaffery is the chair of NLP’s board of directors.
Chuck Salter is NLP’s president and CEO.

Annual report celebrates NLP’s successes and helps chart the way forward

Today, we’re releasing our annual report, and we are proud of our achievements in classrooms around the country, in our work with the public, and in our significant progress toward a more news-literate America. The report, which covers fiscal year 2022 (July 2021-June 2022), also highlights what we’ve accomplished during our ambitious four-year strategic plan for expanding our reach and impact, which concluded in June. While challenges remain, with your ongoing support, we know we can succeed.

 Read the report here.

By Greg McCaffery and Chuck Salter

This past year, the world has contended with devastating crises that were exacerbated by the proliferation of mis- and disinformation — which further undermined democracy. Steadfast throughout these challenges were educators, journalists, students and young people — ordinary heroes who stood firm in upholding our shared democratic values, including the importance of a free press and fact-based public discourse. That’s why we are hopeful about a common future founded on facts. And you’ll see the rationale for that hope in these pages. Just consider what we’ve achieved together over the past year:

With your support, more than 16,000 educators (a 20% increase over the previous year) used any number of our free resources to serve an estimated 2.4 million students in all 50 states.

We created more content for our Checkology® virtual classroom than ever before, including a three-part science component that explores how to get data-savvy, evaluate science-based claims and identify health misinformation.

We launched a lesson on editorial cartooning that features political cartoonists explaining the importance of this form of opinion journalism. Additionally, we are developing a lesson for release in early 2023 that explores the roots of distrust of the news media and “expertise.”

We dropped a new season of our podcast Is that a fact?, where we explored the origins of false narratives and the harm they cause. And our third annual National News Literacy Week, in partnership with The E.W. Scripps Company, reached over 48 million people across the nation, encouraging them to “stop the flood” of misinformation while underscoring  the vital role of news literacy in a democracy.

We also successfully concluded our four-year strategic plan, a journey you took with us to help NLP reach national scale.

We hope in these pages you feel pride in the accomplishments we’ve made and take heart in the stories of our educators and students. Your interest in, partnership with, and championing of NLP have made our work possible. Now we set out to transform our mission into a national movement in the pursuit of a more civically engaged, information-savvy America. And we hope you will continue to stand with us as we harness your individual energy into a collective strength that ensures a more robust, equitable democracy for generations to come.

Annual report: Current events validate our work, inspire our growth

This week, we’re releasing our annual report for fiscal year 2021 (July 2020-June 2021). It’s a summary of our many accomplishments working in classrooms, with new partners, and for the public. We found creative ways to fulfill our mission and make substantial progress toward a future founded on facts. Many challenges remain ahead, but with your continued support, we can make our vision of a news-literate next generation a reality.

Read the report here.

By Greg McCaffery and Alan C. Miller

Current events continue to underscore that news literacy education is essential for the future of a healthy democracy.

For too many, trust in institutions, including the media, has ruptured. They no longer find facts convincing; feelings hold sway, and conspiratorial thinking has moved into the mainstream. The voting rights of all our citizens and the sanctity of our election system face ongoing threats. We’ve seen renewed evidence of the role of Facebook and other social media platforms in exacerbating political polarization and extremism. We are enduring a stress test of our democracy that has continued throughout the pandemic, the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

We recognized in early 2020 that misinformation poses such an existential threat to our democracy that we needed to extend our reach beyond students to all generations. We developed new resources for the public and launched a comprehensive campaign to combat election misinformation during the 2020 election, including a series of public service announcements in English and Spanish. We also hosted the inaugural season of our podcast, Is that a fact?, which explored the question, “How can American democracy survive and thrive in our toxic information environment?”

At the same time, we made great progress on the education front. During the 2020-21 school year, we reached more students and educators than at any other point in NLP’s history, with over 108,000 students active on Checkology® and more than 13,000 educators across the country using our resources. We enhanced our support of educators by creating additional professional learning opportunities and opening our virtual NewsLitCamp® events to participants nationwide. We also launched NewsLit Nation, our 48,000-plus member network for educators, and our News Literacy Ambassador Program, which supports grassroots community organizing efforts for news literacy education.

You helped make all this progress possible. We hope that as you read this annual report, you’ll take pride in these accomplishments.

But we still have much work to do.

The country is deeply divided along partisan lines and separated into media echo chambers. News literacy education is one key to bridging this divide. We all need the skills to know what news and information to trust, share and act on. Our democracy depends on our collective engagement in the pursuit of a fact-based future.

Thank you for joining us in our fight for a future founded on facts.