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Time Warner Hosts “An Evening with the News Literacy Project” in New York

The News Literacy Project showcased its work in New York City schools at an Oct. 26 reception sponsored by Time Warner and attended by news media leaders and other well-known guests.

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., NPR President Vivian Schiller and ABC News President David Westin co-hosted the event. Schiller chairs the News Literacy Project’s board; O’Brien is a board member.

At the Time Warner reception (from left): NPR President Vivian Schiller, who chairs the News Literacy Project board; NLP board member Soledad O’Brien of CNN, and NLP founder Alan Miller. 

The program highlighted the project’s work at the Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School, a middle school in Brooklyn, and the Facing History School, a high school in Manhattan – two of the three schools (the third is in Bethesda, Md.) where the curriculum was implemented in the spring of 2009. The project is continuing to work in those three schools and has expanded to two additional schools in Maryland and Chicago.

It is also involved with an after-school program in East Harlem.

The News Literacy Project creates partnerships between teachers and journalists in middle schools and high schools to give students the critical thinking skills to determine what information is credible amid the myriad sources available to them in today’s digital world. It also aims to spark students’ interest in news that has a public purpose.

“They are learning critical thinking skills that will make them better students today and better-informed citizens tomorrow,” Alan Miller, the project’s founder and executive director, told more than 100 guests at the Time Warner Center.

The project, he said, will reach well over 1,000 students in three schools in New York, two schools in Maryland and several schools in Chicago in the 2009-10 school year. It has already partnered with 15 English, history and government teachers across seven grade levels and involved more than 50 journalists in its classroom and after-school programs and multimedia productions. Nearly 150 journalists have enrolled in its online directory.

Guests heard about the project’s value and impact firsthand from four students and a teacher who participated in the pilot programs: Kristina Wylie, an English teacher at Facing History; Anabel Rivas, a Facing History graduate who participated in the unit last spring, and Jonathan Soto, Chanel Spring and Jessenia Caraballo, 8th-grade students from Williamsburg who are doing the project for the second year. 

Kristina Wylie, a teacher at the Facing History School, and students who have taken the News Literacy Project’s unit at FHS and Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School. The group participated in a panel discussion about the project’s impact and value.

The guests also viewed the project’s initial video, “Check It Out!”

Among those attending the event were Katharine Weymouth, publisher of the Washington Post; Laura Walker, president and CEO of WNYC; Janet Robinson, president and CEO of the New York Times Co; Bill Keller, executive editor of The Times; Alexandra Wallace, vice president of NBC News, and Michael Oreskes, senior managing editor of the Associated Press.

Also present were Alison Bernstein, vice president of the Ford Foundation; Richard Edelman, president of Edelman public relations company, and actor Richard Thomas. Karen Dunlap, president of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the News Literacy Project’s partner and fiscal agent, was there as well.

With all those bold-face names in attendance, it’s only fitting that the event was the subject of an item in a New York gossip column, Mediabistro.com’sFishbowlNY!