Monday, February 2, 2009

News Literacy Project Kicks Off

The News Literacy Project, an innovative national program that is bringing journalists into middle schools and high schools to help students learn to sort fact from fiction in the digital age, kicked off Monday with an event featuring CNN’s Soledad O’Brien at the Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School in Brooklyn, N.Y. The project will launch additional pilot programs later in February at the Facing History School on Manhattan’s West Side and Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Md.

The New York Times, ABC News, USA Today and the CBS News program “60 Minutes” have enlisted with the project as participating news organizations. Reporters, editors, producers and correspondents from each organization are among more than 75 prominent journalists, including winners of print and broadcast journalism’s most prestigious awards, who have volunteered to serve as fellows. They are listed in the project’s online directory on the project's website.

The journalists will help give students the tools to appreciate the value of quality news coverage and to encourage them to consume and create credible information across all media. Students will learn how to distinguish verified information from unfiltered messages, opinion, advertising and propaganda — whether they are using search engines to find websites on a particular topic, assessing a viral e-mail, watching television news or reading a newspaper.
The project is forging partnerships between active and retired journalists and social studies, history and English teachers. It will focus on the importance of news to young people, the role of the First Amendment and a free media in a democracy and the tools needed to discern reliable information. The project has developed original curriculum materials based on engaging activities and student projects that will build and reflect understanding and critical thinking skills.

Additional details here.

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