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April 2015

President's Message
Dear NLP Friends and Supporters,

One of the exciting ways that the News Literacy Project is moving to greatly expand our reach is by collaborating with respected national and international partners.

In NLP News, we highlight our first open-access digital unit, acknowledge generous funding from a new supporter and note a new Teachable Moments blog item that details the warning signs for readers in the Rolling Stone story on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia — a story that the magazine has since retracted.

NLP Spotlight looks at our partnership with Facing History and Ourselves, which over four decades has built an outstanding reputation and a global network of educators. Facing History, which empowers teachers and students to think critically about history and understand the impact of their choices, is working with NLP to produce an interactive multimedia resource focused on news reports, blog posts, rumors and the use of social media in the aftermath of the racially charged events last year in Ferguson, Mo.

The NLP Profile focuses on Matea Gold, a political reporter at The Washington Post and a stellar volunteer journalist fellow since NLP's inception in 2008. She has delivered lessons at numerous schools in all three major regions, has appeared in NLP videos and a digital lesson, has been featured in student videoconferences and has written about our work.

We are grateful for the broad base of support represented by our partner organizations, funders and journalist fellows. It is what has made NLP’s past seven years so productive and our future so promising.

All the best,


Alan C. Miller








The image above is linked to a new open-access interactive lesson in which students learn to categorize information into seven “info zones.” The lesson is hosted by Paul Saltzman, assistant managing editor for projects at the Chicago Sun-Times.

NLP News
An open-access digital unit and a new blog item, staff opening and funder

Jaweed Kaleem, senior religion reporter at The Huffington Post, delivered a lesson about covering religious extremism at the Future Leaders Institute in New York City on March 5. Photo by Meredith W. Gonçalves

NLP is making its initial open-access digital unit available this spring to educators and students on our Learn Channel. This unit has already reached thousands of students in middle schools and high schools in New York City, Chicago and the Washington, D.C., area. The first lesson was posted today, and each week between now and the end of May we will be adding an additional lesson from the unit.

The UVA Rape Story: How to Know What NOT to Believe” is our newest Teachable Moments blog post. Written by Larry Margasak, a retired reporter for the Associated Press, it examines the red flags for readers in Rolling Stone’s Nov. 19 story about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia. In early April, Rolling Stone retracted the story in the face of a scathing report it commissioned from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

In the meantime, we’re pleased to announce our newest funder: the Hearst Foundations, which has awarded NLP a $75,000 grant for general support. We deeply appreciate this contribution and those of all of our donors who are making our national growth possible.


Power of Deception
  As part of NLP’s partnership with Facing History and Ourselves, Brooke Gladstone, host of NPR’s “On the Media,” was interviewed April 17 about the information created in the aftermath of last summer’s events in Ferguson, Mo. Photo by Elis Estrada

NLP Spotlight
Partnering with Facing History: Focusing on Ferguson

The News Literacy Project is partnering with Facing History and Ourselves, a highly respected international education nonprofit, to create an educator’s guide to the news and information produced in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., last August.

Facing History provides resources for educators that help students understand the connection between history and the moral choices they make. NLP offers programs and resources for educators that help students understand the connection between credible information and the personal and political choices that shape their lives. They share the ambition of creating a more ethical society by developing a more informed citizenry.

With the support of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, NLP and Facing History will produce a news literacy resource that uses the events in Ferguson as an information case study to help guide students through four essential areas of study: confirmation bias, social media, verification and the watchdog role of the press in a democracy.

It will be built around an interactive multimedia timeline of information created in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and original video commentary by academics, media analysts and journalists who covered the story.

The partnership offers NLP the opportunity to reach educators and students nationwide through Facing History’s expansive network. A select group of Facing History teachers in New York and Chicago will test the resource this spring; by fall it will reach at least 750 educators. It will be available to the more than 90,000 users of Facing History’s online library on an ongoing basis.

Both NLP and Facing History look forward to this opportunity to help teachers demonstrate the powerful influence that information has on individuals’ choices.

Marc Skvirsky, Facing History’s vice president and chief program officer, said, “This new resource will help young people appreciate the importance of thinking critically about the information they encounter, and the need to pause and reflect before acting on it.”

NLP Profile

  In September 2012, Matea Gold (right) moderated NLP’s Fall Forum, “Decision 2012: The Savvy Consumer’s Guide to Campaign Coverage,” which included Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus.  Photo by Billy Bird

Matea Gold: Making the Case for 'Why Journalism Is So Essential'

When the News Literacy Project held its first recruitment session for journalist volunteers in New York City in early 2009, Matea Gold was sitting right up front. A few months later, she was among the initial journalists to teach lessons in the first two schools there to pilot NLP’s curriculum. And when NLP released a Washington, D.C., digital unit in 2013 — yes, that was Gold delivering a lesson on “The Power of Deception.”

That just scratches the surface of Gold’s role with NLP. One of the most involved journalist fellows, she has had a hand in nearly every aspect of NLP’s outreach — initially as a member of the Los Angeles Times’ New York and Washington bureaus and, since 2013, as a reporter at The Washington Post, where she covers money and politics.

Gold, the daughter of two educators, recalls that she was immediately drawn to NLP’s “creative, innovative” mission. At the time, she said, news organizations nationwide faced an uncertain future, and “the News Literacy Project gave me hope that we could individually do our part to make the case for why journalism is so essential.”

In addition to delivering more than a dozen lessons to students in New York, Washington and Chicago (via Skype), she was featured in a videoconference, “Getting to the Source: Untangling the Facts in Political Policy Reporting,” as part of a digital unit in May 2014.  She again has a prominent role in an upgraded version of NLP’s digital unit.

Gold has been an active supporter of NLP outside the classroom as well, appearing in NLP promotional videos, including “News Literacy Is …,” “Impact” and “How to Know What to Believe.” Weeks before the 2012 presidential campaign, she moderated a public event, “Decision 2012: The Savvy Consumer’s Guide to Campaign Coverage,” at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Md. In May 2013 she joined NLP president Alan Miller and an NLP teacher to discuss news literacy on a radio talk show in Washington. Last year, she wrote an article on NLP for Wesleyan University’s alumni magazine.

Teachers often request her when they schedule classroom lessons from journalists. Those sessions enable her to see firsthand NLP’s impact on students.

Whether it’s a viral email or a misleading campaign ad that she debunks for the students, “by the end of the conversation I find a complete change of attitude and perspective about the impact they can have” by sharing misinformation, she said. “News literacy becomes a concept they can grasp, like giving them a toolkit to use.”

THE NEWS LITERACY PROJECT (NLP) is an innovative national educational program that mobilizes seasoned journalists and works with educators to help middle school and high school students sort fact from fiction in the digital age.

Click here to learn more about NLP and visit NLP's YouTube channel.

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NLP thanks its major funders and all those whose support makes our program possible.

Copyright (c) 2015 The News Literacy Project. All rights reserved.

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