The News Literacy Project: Coming Soon to the Internet
The News Literacy Project is an innovative national program that intends to mobilize journalists to help middle and high school students sort fact from fiction in the digital age. It is a response to the growing challenge of assuring that America’s young people get the information they need to become well-informed citizens and voters in the 21st century.
The project is spearheaded by Alan C. Miller, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter with the Los Angeles Times. It was initiated in early 2008 with a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and has received a two-year grant from the Ford Foundation. Pilots are planned in public schools in New York City and Montgomery County, Md.
The project will create partnerships between active and retired journalists and English and social studies teachers, as well as after-school media clubs. The journalists and teachers will devise units focusing on why news matters to young people, what roles the First Amendment and a free media play in a democracy, and how students can determine the veracity of what they read, see, and hear. Material will be presented through hands-on exercises and the journalists’ own compelling stories. The curriculum will also address new digital tools from Google to Wikipedia.
Alan Goodwin, a member of the project’s advisory committee and principal of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Md., where one of the first pilots is planned, stated, “We are excited about the News Literacy Project because we believe it will teach students to analyze information effectively and determine the reliability of various sources, thus helping them to make informed decisions in their personal and professional lives.”