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In Focus: The News Literacy Project

By Carol McCarthy, Director of Communications, The News Literacy Project.

The News Literacy Project (NLP) is a nonpartisan national education nonprofit that provides programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the skills needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy.

NLP has been in this fight for over a decade, and we’ve created some of the most innovative tools and programs to prevent the public from being fooled by false content. Alan C. Miller, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, founded NLP in 2008 after he visited his daughter’s middle school classroom and realized young people didn’t understand how journalism worked or how to tell credible news from memes, ads or misinformation proliferating online. Young people have inherited an information landscape — with all its complexities, challenges and vulnerabilities — from us, and we have not prepared them to deal with it successfully and safely.

We believe education is the most effective approach because it empowers people to think for themselves and to recognize reliable sources of information as well as misinformation. Our vision is that news literacy becomes embedded in the American education experience, and people of all ages and backgrounds know how to identify credible news and other information, allowing them to play an equal and active role in the civic life of their communities and the country.

NLP offers diverse resources and programs that are designed to meet the news literacy education needs of all in an accessible format and setting.

In 2016 we introduced the free Checkology® virtual classroom, a browser-based e-learning platform that equips educators to teach news literacy to middle school and high school students. Checkology teaches people how to identify credible information, seek out reliable sources and discern misinformation. Educators in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories and more than 100 other countries use the platform. It is available at no cost. A version of Checkology is also available for the general public.

Our free NewsLitCamp® professional development programs bring educators and journalists together to learn from one another. A free weekly newsletter, The Sift®, provides educators with examples of the most recent rumors, hoaxes, and misinformation that can be used as teachable moments in the classroom. Get Smart About News is a free weekly newsletter intended for the general public. New in 2020, NLP’s podcast, Is that a fact?, explores misinformation and its impact on democracy. And Informable®, a free mobile app that tests and builds news literacy skills, is the first learning tool of its kind.

Also, NLP and its partner, The E.W. Scripps Company, present the annual National News Literacy Week. The event raises awareness of news literacy as a fundamental life skill and provides educators, students and the general public with easy-to-adopt tools and tips for becoming news-literate. The first National News Literacy Week was held in January 2020. NNLW 2021 will be held Jan. 25-29.