Sulzberger’s comments came during his keynote address at the nation’s first conference on news literacy, held March 11-13 at Stony Brook University on Long Island. The Times became the News Literacy Project’s first participating news organization in November, and more than 20 current and former journalists from the paper have enrolled in the program.
“Our children need real journalism,” Sulzberger said. “They need reassurance that the world is not coming to an end and that history teaches us that humankind is quite resilient, especially during periods of crises and controversy. They need to know that we have persevered during world wars, a Great Depression and the Cold War, and we have the wherewithal to overcome what we face today.
“Your conference and other initiatives, such as the News Literacy Project, will help us teach this invaluable lesson, and the New York Times Company is very proud to be part of these efforts. I commend and applaud your efforts.”
The conference brought together prominent journalists, university presidents, journalism school deans and professors from three dozen institutions to discuss ways to extend the growing field of news literacy in colleges and high schools nationwide.
Alan C. Miller, the News Literacy Project’s founder and executive director, made a presentation to the conference about the project’s initial progress and promise. NPR president Vivian Schiller, the project’s chair, and Neil Budde, president and chief product officer of DailyMe.com and a member of the project’s board, also participated, appearing on a panel titled “What responsibilities do journalists have to educate their own consumers?”
“News Literacy: Setting a National Agenda” was sponsored by the Ford Foundation, with additional support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and McCormick Foundation. Chairing the conference were Howard Schneider, dean of Stony Brook’s School of Journalism and former editor of Newsday, and Marcy McGinnis, associate dean of the journalism school and former senior vice president of news coverage at CBS News.