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.