NLP founder and CEO Alan Miller receives AARP Purpose Prize
Alan C. Miller, News Literacy Project founder and CEO, is a winner of AARP’s prestigious Purpose Prize®, a national award that celebrates people 50 and older who are using their life experience and wisdom to tackle societal challenges and inspire others.
“AARP is honored to celebrate these extraordinary older adults, who have dedicated their lives to serving others in creative and innovative ways,” AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said. “During these trying times in our country and globally, we are inspired to see people use their life experiences to build a better future for us all.”
AARP awards $50,000 to each honoree’s organization and provides technical assistance supports and resources to help broaden the impact of its work.
In a profile on AARP’s website Miller describes what motivated him to create NLP, the problem he hopes to solve and what makes NLP’s approach stand out. “I founded the News Literacy Project in 2008, with the belief that knowing how to identify credible news is an essential life skill in an information age — and that this was not being widely taught in schools,” Miller said.
Watch the short video that AARP produced to learn more about Miller and NLP’s impact. Recipients of the Purpose Prize also are eligible for the AARP Inspire Award. The public votes to choose the winner, whose organization receives $10,000. In this video, Miller answers AARP’s three “inspire” questions.
“We realized last year that misinformation is such an existential threat to democracy that we could not limit ourselves to reaching just the next generation. We are racing against a toxic tide of misinformation, disinformation and conspiracy theories that is undermining our trust in institutions,” Miller said. “We must find a way to bridge this divide by creating a shared narrative around verified, agreed-upon facts.
A sense of purpose
“One of the things that distinguishes NLP is our focus on news literacy, which is a subset of media literacy,” he explained. NLP uses the standards of quality journalism as an aspirational yardstick against which to measure all news and information, partners with journalists who share their skills, provides an understanding of how quality journalism works and instills an appreciation of the First Amendment and the role of a free press in our society.
“We don’t teach people what to think; we teach people how to think. We help them develop critical thinking skills to make judgments about whatever they encounter in the information landscape.”
He also shared his advice for others who want to make a difference in the world. “Start with something for which you have a passion and a sense of purpose. For me, journalism was always a calling, not just a career. In NLP, I feel blessed to have found a second professional calling.”
Read about this year’s other Purpose Prize winners, as well as Honorary Award recipient actor Michael J. Fox, selected for his advocacy work to help advance scientific progress toward a cure for Parkinson’s disease.