Wednesday, February 18, 2009

O'Brien Kicks Off Student News Literacy Project


Earlier this month, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien announced the kick-off of the News Literacy Project at the Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School (WCCS) in Brooklyn, New York. The school enrolls about 250 students who are accepted by lottery and drawn from throughout New York City. All of the students are from minority groups.

The program promises to help teach high-school students how to discern fact from fiction on the web.

"Part of the job is to be a truthful witness to the things you see around you," said O'Brien. She said she seeks "to tell the stories to the best of my ability as fairly as possible."

CNN offers a daily Student News program with supplementary online materials for students and their teachers.

Students need to be able to find sources of verifiable news on the internet and this program offers students of WCCS the chance to receive valuable training in that area. The New York Times, ABC News, USA Today and the CBS News program 60 Minutes are participating in the new program tailored to educate high school students in this art.

More than 75 well-known journalists, some of whom have won the most prestigious awards in the industry, have volunteered to take part in the program. The journalists will discuss things like why news should matter to young people and what the First Amendment and free media mean in a democracy. The curriculum also addresses such new media tools as Google, blogs and Wikipedia.

Four major national journalism organizations have also endorsed the News Literacy Project: the American Society of Newspaper Editors; the National Association of Black Journalists; the Asian American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors.
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