As more and more news junkies are laid off from their jobs as editors, reporters and more, one college is looking at taking advantage of their expertise.
Stony Brook University, a SUNY, submitted a proposal to hire 50 laid-off journalists to teach news literacy classes to non journalism majors. Their salaries would be paid for by grant monies, according to this blog. The university is also seeking money from the federal government’s stimulus plan.
News literacy classes are popping up on several university campuses.
Stony Brook is not the only institution looking at the lay-offs as an opportunity. One of the many former LA Times staff started The News Literacy Project, which has the same goals as the university’s classes.
Even as young people increasingly participate in the national discussion through such media as text messages and blogs, news literacy is not widely taught in America’s public schools. Amid the 24-hour news cycle and the explosion of information continuously available online, today’s students have access to unprecedented amounts of information. Yet they are also confronted with the daunting task of determining the reliability of myriad sources of `”news.’’ And surveys show young people are increasingly uninterested in information with a civic purpose.
The primary aim of the News Literacy Project is to give middle and high school students the tools to be smarter and more frequent consumers and creators of credible information across all media and platforms. Students will be taught how to distinguish verified information from raw messages, spin, gossip, and opinion and encouraged to seek information that will make them well-informed citizens and voters.
The project will create partnerships between active and retired journalists and English, social studies and history teachers as well as after-school media clubs. The journalists and teachers will devise units focusing on why news matters to young people, the roles of the First Amendment and a free media in a democracy and how students can determine the veracity of what they read, see and hear. Material will be presented through games, hands-on exercises, and the journalists’ own compelling stories. The curriculum will also address new media tools from Google to Wikipedia.