PBS NewsHour reports on the News Literacy Project


The News Literacy Project’s growing program to give students the tools to know what to believe in a digital age was the subject of a seven-minute report on PBS NewsHour on Dec. 13.

The report, “News Literacy Project Trains Young People to be Skeptical Media Consumers,” featured NLP’s work with 8th-grade students at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., and students at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland. It showed teachers using the curriculum at Whitman, a journalist’s presentation at E.L. Haynes, and student projects.

It also included a video excerpt from a speech by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps in which he called for the development of a national online news literacy curriculum. “This can be a powerful antidote to the dumbing-down of our civic dialogue that has taken place,” he said.

Jennifer Niles, the founder and head of E.L. Haynes, said in the report that the benefits of the News Literacy Project’s curriculum extend beyond news literacy.

It  “would fit into middle-school curriculum across the country and have a huge focus on nonfiction reaching and writing, which we now understand are so much more central to making sure that our kids are going to be prepared for college, but also competitive in the workplace,” she said. “This fits perfectly.”

NLP’s founder and president, Alan C. Miller, said in the report that if young people don’t understand and appreciate quality journalism, the demand for it may cease to exist.

The News Literacy Project, which started its first pilot projects in three schools in 2009, is now operating in 21 middle schools and high schools in New York City and Chicago as well as in Washington and Bethesda. It will reach more than 2,000 students this year.

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