Video frame from student PSA winner. Displays

NewsLit Week | Wisconsin students win PSA contest


Students in Lisa Ruehlow’s Media Literacy class at Amery High School in Wisconsin combined creativity and their Checkology® lessons to create public service announcements about the importance of news literacy for young people. And two of them took top honors for the national PSA contest sponsored by the News Literacy Project (NLP) and The E.W. Scripps Company. The new contest was part of National News Literacy Week (Jan. 25-29.) One of Ruehlow’s students won first prize, and another was selected as runner-up.

The winners are:

First prize: Nicholas Hahn, senior

His video featured clips from current events to demonstrate the real — and often harmful — impacts of misinformation. Watch Nicholas’ PSA.

Runner-up: Mary Mallum, senior

She used animated graphics to provide tips for parsing the false from the factual. Watch Mary’s PSA.

NLP and Scripps, sponsors of National News Literacy Week, asked students taking Checkology virtual classroom lessons to submit a 30-second video PSA related to the week’s theme: Get NewsLit fit. The PSA contest aimed to encourage young people to promote news literacy to their peers.

The winning students took a new course that Ruehlow created and taught for the first time last  fall. The class of 20 included mostly seniors, plus a few juniors and sophomores. All completed the PSA assignment for class. Throughout the semester the students enthusiastically embraced the topic of news literacy, Ruehlow says.

“I am exceedingly happy that students see the value of the tools they have learned — they are sharing their insights with others, and are quite passionate about it,” she says. “Many have told me that they think this class should be required of every high school student since this topic is so incredibly important to their daily lives.”

The importance of media literacy

When she asked students why they thought media literacy was important, they offered thoughtful responses.

  • “Media Literacy is more critical than ever as people spend so much time on social media, where anyone can post something and claim it as ‘news.’”
  • “It’s important to know what’s true and how to verify or debunk it for ourselves. With people spending so much time-consuming media, it can help our relationships, our country, and our digital communities by knowing what’s real and not allowing it to evoke such a severe emotional response.”
  • “Media literacy is important because being misled by false information can result in harmful or incomplete understandings. That can result in action being taken, such as storming the Capitol.”

Her students clearly grasp the significance and urgency of becoming more news-literate.  Ruehlow — and other educators like her — who are dedicated to this work — make that possible.

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