Neveah Rice: 2024 Gwen Ifill Student of the Year

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Neveah Rice
Cornell High School
Coraopolis, Pennsylvania

Neveah Rice felt a bit dazed when she learned that she was the News Literacy Project’s 2024 Gwen Ifill Student of the Year. “It felt like a dream. I didn’t think I actually won,” the senior at Cornell High School in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, told NLP.

Rice, who plans to study journalism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the fall, was nominated for the award by her U.S. Government teacher Amy Palo. While Palo was delighted to learn that NLP selected Rice for the honor, she was not surprised. “Neveah is truly a joy to have as a student and makes me hopeful for the next generation of journalists.”

In her nomination letter, Palo wrote that Rice “is committed to the First Amendment’s protection of the press. She is committed to learning about journalistic standards.” In addition to her coursework, Rice is involved in several school and community engagement activities, which she described in a recent article by a local news organization, Public Source.

Palo used NLP’s digital learning platform, Checkology®, and additional resources to teach students about the First Amendment and other foundational components of news literacy, which Rice embraced. “I have learned so much from my experience with news literacy education through Checkology,” she wrote in her nomination submission.

Checkology also has helped Rice become an apt discerner of credible information. “It did change the way I consider information that I come across online. Now that I know there’s certain misinformation and bias and stuff to look out for, I have a keener eye for those things,” she told NLP in a recorded interview.

A personal responsibility

Studying news literacy made her aware that we all play a role in pushing back against misinformation and helping others find credible sources and fact-based information, particularly on social media. “I do think that there is a responsibility that everybody should have when considering what they’re posting on social media, because misinformation is a serious problem in our society. And I think you should try your best to fact-check what you’re posting and make sure you read and hold yourself accountable.”

She acknowledged that this can be challenging, given the torrent of information that floods our newsfeeds and online communities every day. “I think it’s very overwhelming” for everyone, but especially for teens, she said.

And this is where her newfound skills make all the difference. “Being news-literate can contribute to how you’re thinking in real-life situations. I have learned so much from my experience with news literacy education through Checkology. I have applied this knowledge and will continue to make use of what I have learned whether it be in school or just in my daily life,” she said.

Rice readily grasps what this knowledge means for democracy and the importance of being civically engaged. “I will be voting in this election. It’s going to be my first time voting. I’m kind of nervous for it. I think my vote does matter.”

About the award

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

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