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Annual report: NLP meets challenges, expands mission

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This week, we're releasing our annual report for fiscal year 2020 (July 2019-June 2020). It presents results of our work as we expanded our mission to reach not just students and educators but also the public. It also covers a time of great challenges for all of us. We believe that it reflects significant progress during the past year, and great promise for the future.

By Greg McCaffery and Alan C. Miller

Our world has been shaken and transformed since we shared our first annual report with you. In fact, it often feels like last fall was a decade ago.

Read the report here.

We’re proud to say that NLP has responded to the myriad challenges wrought by COVID-19 with resourcefulness and determination. As a result, with the second year of our four-year strategic plan completed, we marked numerous important gains.

During the 2019-20 school year we brought news literacy education to 702 educators and 33,894 students through our Checkology® virtual classroom. The student assessments conducted at the end of the school year prove that Checkology works. Far more students were able to recognize the standards of quality journalism and to understand the watchdog role of a free press and the First Amendment in a democracy.

The pandemic and the accompanying “infodemic” — an overabundance of information, including misinformation — inspired us to step up in new and innovative ways.

A rapid, robust response

In March, in response to schools nationwide transitioning to remote teaching, we decided to provide Checkology at no cost to educators and parents engaged in distance learning or homeschooling. In addition, we created a special page on our website with reliable information about COVID-19, used our weekly newsletter The Sift® to debunk misinformation about the virus, and developed two educational webinar series that drew 1,768 participants.

We knew we had to invest in additional resources to provide a growing number of educators with the support they needed to teach news literacy. We created an educator outreach and success team to respond to our educators and to help them succeed, providing support to implement Checkology and promoting the platform to school districts. And we also brought Ebonee Rice, a community engagement expert, on board to create and mobilize a nationwide network of 20,000 educators committed to news literacy.

Amid a perfect storm of misinformation and disinformation from the pandemic, the protests for racial justice and the 2020 elections, we moved to expand our mission to include you. Our free resources are now available to meet the urgent need for news literacy among people of all ages, and to help everyone become savvier consumers of news and information.

We hope that as you read this annual report, including a special section on the start of this new fiscal year, you will recognize your contributions in making these accomplishments possible.

Thank you for your ongoing support and for helping to preserve a future founded on facts.

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