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The News Literacy Project Provides a Hopeful Outlook on the Future of Media Literacy in America

The News Literacy Project provides tools for the public to stop the spread of misinformation and check for truthful news.


January 3, 2023

By Aydin Levy

SAN FRANCISCO— Media literacy is a pressing issue during a time when misinformation is becoming increasingly frequent. Future voters and the coming generations are directly affected as technology becomes more and more widespread. Media literacy can best be described as the ability to be a critical consumer of media and understand its influence on everyday life. Given how much information circulates online, the possibility of consuming misinformation and perpetuating false narratives is becoming more of a concern. When American 10- to 14-year-olds spend around 8 hours a day on a screen, the importance of accurate stories is crucial.

The News Literacy Project, NLP, started by Alan Miller in 2008, teaches students to decipher fact from false information. In an interview with TPF, Hannah Covington, a journalist, and senior manager of education design for NLP stated that having the “ability to determine the credibility of information” can make us all more informed citizens. To encourage this expertise NLP has subdivisions that work on targeting different skill sets and goals. For example, their RumorGuard platform explains how to find trustworthy data in the complexity of the internet in a detailed yet simplistic manner that is transformative and quick. The resource provides lessons in writing and videos which show the process behind deciding whether or not a website is trustworthy. They do this through a series of 5 checks and techniques, which include: checking if a news site is authentic, ensuring its credibility, looking at the evidence, verifying its accuracy, and examining its reasoning. Using real-life examples of viral false information, they help show how these skills are essential to media literacy.

Additionally, NLP has a curriculum for schools called Checkology. As revealed by Media Literacy Now, only 15 states currently encourage some form of media literacy teaching. Thus, equipping students with knowledge that will help them safely interact with the digital world is necessary. NLP teaches schools how to best implement engaging media literacy lessons by having experts interact with students and provide tests that allow students to monitor their progress. According to Covington, after taking a course on the first amendment, three out of four students could correctly identify what the five freedoms are, which is critical knowledge to understand media literacy. The New York Times acknowledges that the “Checkology curriculum surged 248 percent between 2018 and 2022,” a testimony to the widespread dissemination of fake news in recent years. Between Covid-19 rumors, election denialism, and the current discussions relating to climate change, assuring that everyone has the skillset to spot misinformation is becoming increasingly important.

Covington speaks to future generations when she says, “[Y]ou have a right to a news literacy education, you have a right to learn these skills and be taught these skills because you need them, cause this is the news information environment you have inherited.” The News Literacy Project is a gateway to building the foundation for these essentials and leading coming generations to be news-literate.


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