GIVE FACTS A FIGHTING CHANCE - A global playbook for teaching news literacy - Visit us at newslit.org - News Literacy Project

 
GIVE FACTS A FIGHTING CHANCE - A global playbook for teaching news literacy - Visit us at newslit.org - News Literacy Project
February 2019                Visit us at newslit.org.

     GIVE FACTS
     A FIGHTING
     CHANCE
    A global playbook for
    teaching news literacy
GIVE FACTS A FIGHTING CHANCE - A global playbook for teaching news literacy - Visit us at newslit.org - News Literacy Project
Copyright © 2019 by The News Literacy Project. All rights reserved.

 The map on page 15 from the study Challenging Truth and Trust: An
Organized Inventory of Social Media Manipulation is included with the
permission of Philip N. Howard, Ph.D., of the Oxford Internet Institute.

For more information and to obtain permission to reproduce this book
               or any portion thereof, please contact:

                      The News Literacy Project
                      5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW
                             Suite 440
                       Washington, DC 20015
                               USA

                          info@newslit.org
GIVE FACTS A FIGHTING CHANCE - A global playbook for teaching news literacy - Visit us at newslit.org - News Literacy Project
3

Table of contents

          Acknowledgments.............................................. 4

          Foreword........................................................... 5

          Chapter 1
          History of the News Literacy Project..................... 7

          Chapter 2
          A Brief History of Misinformation....................... 11

          Chapter 3
          News Literacy and Civics Education.................... 19

          Chapter 4
          Lessons Learned and Best Practices.................. 22

          Chapter 5
          Resources.......................................................... 37
          Strategic Overview 2018-2022........................... 43
GIVE FACTS A FIGHTING CHANCE - A global playbook for teaching news literacy - Visit us at newslit.org - News Literacy Project
4

Acknowledgments

This project could not have come together without the contributions
of several News Literacy Project team members: our founder and CEO,
Alan Miller; our senior vice president of education, Peter Adams; our
senior vice president of communications, Christine Nyirjesy Bragale;
our vice president of production, Darragh Worland; our director of
partnerships, Damaso Reyes; our senior editor, Leslie Hoffecker; and
our visual designer, Andrea Lin. Our director of education, John Silva,
is the author of the chapter on the connection between news literacy
and civics education. Freelance graphic designer Adam Payne ensured
consistent branding and compelling visuals throughout the publication.
Jamie Gold not only took the contributions from our staff and turned
them into a cohesive explanation of the lessons we have learned in
the last decade, but also put together a narrative about the history of
misinformation.

We are grateful to Campbell Brown and the Facebook Journalism
Project for supporting the production of this global playbook.

And finally, we appreciate the assistance of the Facebook Journalism
Project and the International Center for Journalists in connecting us
with nonprofits around the world that are eager to spread the news
literacy message. Thank you.

— The News Literacy Project
GIVE FACTS A FIGHTING CHANCE - A global playbook for teaching news literacy - Visit us at newslit.org - News Literacy Project
Foreword                                                                                                                                             5

      Foreword
      The worldwide pandemic of misinformation and                             that the newspaper industry was experiencing —
      disinformation is, to be blunt, a global public                          and feared that unless young people developed
      health crisis.                                                           an understanding of, and appreciation for, quality
                                                                               journalism, deep and accurate reporting would be
      We have seen it play out with deadly consequences                        overtaken by rumor, spin, propaganda, hoaxes and
      in India and Myanmar. We have seen it manifested                         other falsehoods. Over time, we have discovered that
      in the 2016 presidential election in the United                          these issues are not simply local or national — they
      States and in elections in the former Soviet                             are found in every country around the world.
      republics, Western Europe and Brazil. And we have
      seen it in the growing international demand for our                      We do recognize the limitations of this guide. The
      Checkology® virtual classroom.                                           News Literacy Project is based in the United States,
                                                                               and our curriculum and resources — which include
      To help stem the spread of this virus, we have put                       The Sift, our weekly newsletter for educators, and the
      together what we are calling a “global playbook.”                        tools on our website, newslit.org — were designed
      Our hope is that our experiences in the field of news                    for a U.S. audience. We realize that social, political,
      literacy — and the lessons we have learned — will                        educational and cultural challenges differ from
      be useful to you as you introduce or expand news                         country to country — so we hope that you will use this
      literacy programs in your community and country.                         guide by adapting what is relevant and useful to your
                                                                               situation.
      I started the News Literacy Project in 2008 for
      two reasons. I was concerned about the large                             To be honest, we were surprised by the international
      quantities of misleading (and often outright false)                      reach of our programs. With no marketing efforts
      information that my daughter, then a teenager, was                       outside the United States, the first version of
      finding online. And as a reporter for the Los Angeles                    Checkology, launched in May 2016, attracted
      Times, I was caught up in the wrenching change                           registrations from teachers in 93 countries — and

      Alan Miller, the founder of the News Literacy Project, discusses his Pulitzer Prize-winning series, “The Vertical Vision,” during a visit to
      Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, in October 2015.
GIVE FACTS A FIGHTING CHANCE - A global playbook for teaching news literacy - Visit us at newslit.org - News Literacy Project
Foreword                                                                                                             6

      we took that global presence into account as we          this field in your country, and welcome stories of
      developed version 2.0, released in August 2018. It       challenges as well as successes.
      includes a new lesson on press freedoms around the
      world (featuring videos of journalists in 10 countries   Your efforts to create a more news-literate society
      talking about their work) and a Spanish-language         are exactly what the world needs today. We hope
      version of “Practicing Quality Journalism,” one of our   we can help you achieve this objective, and we look
      most popular lessons. We’re also consulting with 10      forward to hearing from you.
      dynamic nonprofits in Eastern Europe, the Middle
      East, Africa, Asia, North America and South America
      to help them introduce or expand news or media
      literacy education in their countries.

      As we begin to reach a wider global audience, we
      want to learn from you. Please send us your feedback
      on this guide and on news literacy education in          Alan C. Miller
      general: What is useful? What is not? What would         Founder and CEO
      you like to see more of? What is missing? We would
      also like to hear about your experiences working in
GIVE FACTS A FIGHTING CHANCE - A global playbook for teaching news literacy - Visit us at newslit.org - News Literacy Project
History of NLP                                                                                                         7

          Chapter One

       History of the News
       Literacy Project
       In 2006, Alan Miller — a Pulitzer Prize-winning        reunion. There he participated in a long-scheduled
       investigative reporter in the Los Angeles Times’       panel on the future of journalism moderated by
       bureau in Washington, D.C. — was invited to discuss    Alberto Ibargüen, a 1966 graduate of Wesleyan
       his work as a journalist, and why it mattered, with    and the president of the John S. and James L.
       175 sixth-grade students at his daughter’s middle      Knight Foundation, the largest funder of journalism
       school. He went into Pyle Middle School in Bethesda,   education in the United States.
       Maryland, concerned about two things: how his
       daughter, Julia, was accessing and evaluating the      After the session, Miller told Ibargüen that he had
       tsunami of information of such varying credibility,    the beginnings of an idea that he would like to share.
       transparency and accountability on the internet, and   Ibargüen connected him with Eric Newton, Knight’s
       whether — amid the wrenching transformation in         vice president for journalism. Over the next 18
       the news business — there would continue to be an      months, they spoke periodically, tugging and pulling
       appreciation of quality journalism.                    on Miller’s idea until Knight was ready to award him a
                                                              founding grant for the News Literacy Project (NLP).
       As he left the building that spring morning, he came
       to a realization: If many journalists brought their    (Coincidentally, and unbeknownst to Miller, in 2006
       expertise and experience to classrooms across          Knight had given a larger grant to Stony Brook
       America, it could be extremely meaningful. That        University in New York for a program that would
       evening, Julia brought home 175 handwritten thank-     teach “news literacy” to college students. Hence,
       you notes. Together, as they read each one aloud,      Newton effectively named a new field of study, and
       Miller could see what had resonated.                   Knight’s support launched it. Howard Schneider, the
                                                              founder of Stony Brook’s Center for News Literacy,
       Two weeks later, he returned to Wesleyan University    became a founding member of NLP’s board.)
       in Middletown, Connecticut, for his 30th college

      “I thought it was great when you said a newspaper was like
       a buffet, with so many articles you can read. I loved your
       presentation, and I hope you come again soon.”
                                                                           — Zena Zangwill, sixth-grade student at
                                                              Pyle Middle School, in a thank-you note to Alan Miller
GIVE FACTS A FIGHTING CHANCE - A global playbook for teaching news literacy - Visit us at newslit.org - News Literacy Project
History of NLP                                                                                                                      8

       On Feb. 2, 2008, soon after receiving that founding       In an effort to reach even more students (and
       grant, Miller began a leave of absence from the Los       addressing teachers’ wishes for more educational
       Angeles Times to focus on developing his idea (and        technology in the classroom), NLP developed a
       ended up resigning a month later). He wanted to           digital unit in 2012. It retained the journalists’ voices
       create a program that would give students in middle       through narrated video lessons, interactive computer-
       school and high school the tools to separate fact         based training sessions and a live videoconference.
       from fiction in everything they read, watch or hear,      That same year NLP began working with Evaluation
       enabling them to appreciate the value of quality news     Services, an outside consultant, to conduct formal
       coverage and encouraging them to consume and              assessments of its programs — a collaboration that
       create credible information across all types of media.    continues to this day.
       Miller’s realization from 2006 — that journalists could
       have an impact in the classroom — was a central part
       of the mission, and from the start, journalists joined
       educators in teaching students how to know what to
       believe.

       On Feb. 2, 2009 — exactly one year after Miller’s
       leave of absence began — NLP kicked off its initial
       pilot with an event featuring Soledad O’Brien, a
       CNN correspondent and NLP board member, at
       Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School, a middle
       school in Brooklyn, New York. That afternoon, David
       Gonzalez, a reporter and columnist at The New York
       Times, delivered NLP’s first classroom lesson. Just
       over three weeks later, NLP began its classroom
       program in five Advanced Placement government
       classes at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda,
       featuring journalists from Time, ABC News, Politico,
       The New York Times and USA Today, among others.

       The success of those initial pilots led NLP to expand
       the classroom program to Chicago, Illinois, in the fall
       of 2009, followed by Washington, D.C., in the spring
       of 2011. In each city, NLP partnered primarily with
       underresourced schools where a majority of the            Top: Miller and Soledad O’Brien (right) attend the kickoff event
                                                                 for NLP’s classroom program at Williamsburg Collegiate Charter
       students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch    School in Brooklyn, New York, in 2009. Bottom: Gwen Ifill (left)
       programs. At the same time, NLP was making its            moderates a student panel on the importance of news literacy at
       name known to a wider audience through a series of        the Council on Foundations’ annual conference in Washington,
                                                                 D.C., in 2014.
       public events in the Washington area, featuring such
       well-known journalists as Gwen Ifill of Washington
       Week and PBS NewsHour, David Brooks and Thomas            By the 2013-14 school year, NLP’s classroom, after-
       Friedman of The New York Times, Chuck Todd and            school and digital programs had mobilized journalists
       Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, Ruth Marcus and              to work with more than 100 English, government,
       E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post, and Al Hunt of        history and journalism teachers in 82 schools to
       Bloomberg News.                                           reach more than 6,800 students in Chicago, New
                                                                 York City and the Washington, D.C., area (including
                                                                 suburbs in Maryland and Virginia). But it had become
GIVE FACTS A FIGHTING CHANCE - A global playbook for teaching news literacy - Visit us at newslit.org - News Literacy Project
History of NLP                                                                                                                   9

       apparent that the program needed to move fully
       online to reach national scale.

       That decision led to the development of the
       Checkology® virtual classroom — initially a series
       of 10 core lessons that gave students a foundation
       in news literacy, with prominent journalists from
       The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The
       New York Times, NBC and other well-known outlets
       as video teachers and guides. Launched in May
       2016, the platform was extremely well-received;
       in just its first two months, educators in 22 states
       and the District of Columbia signed on. And it has
       grown exponentially: More than 17,000 educators
       (and counting) in all 50 U.S. states, the District
       of Columbia, three U.S. territories and more than
       100 other countries have registered to use the
       platform since its release.

       Today, NLP’s website, newslit.org, offers tools
       that help adults, as well as teens, understand the
       importance of news literacy. Started in April 2017,
       our NewsLitCamp® is a one-day professional
       development program, hosted by a local news
       organization, where journalists from that outlet
       join NLP staff to bring news literacy resources to
       local teachers. And in August 2018, NLP released
       a reimagined version of the Checkology virtual
       classroom, with 13 lessons, greater interactivity,
       improved resources, and an increased ability for
       educators to customize lessons based on classroom
       needs. Of particular interest to international
       educators is our lesson “Press Freedoms Around the
                                                                Top: A still from an NLP video depicts one way students today
       World” — led by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, a Berlin-        find information — on their smartphones. Middle: Damaso Reyes,
       based correspondent for NPR — in which students          NLP’s director of partnerships, talks to educators attending a
       explore the state of international press freedoms        NewsLitCamp in August 2018. Bottom: NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi
                                                                Nelson is the host of “Press Freedoms Around the World,” a
       through an interactive map that includes videos from
                                                                lesson in NLP’s Checkology virtual classroom.
       journalists reporting on the state of press freedoms
       in their country.

       In just over a decade, NLP grew from an idea in a
       journalist’s mind to a national leader in the field of
       news literacy. We are delighted to work with you to
       expand this knowledge throughout the world.
GIVE FACTS A FIGHTING CHANCE - A global playbook for teaching news literacy - Visit us at newslit.org - News Literacy Project
History of Misinformation                                                                                                 10

          Chapter Two

       A Brief History
       of Misinformation
       The phrase “fake news” has come into frequent           GIFs, news articles and more. And technology allows
       usage only recently, but the concept, a broad one, is   more sophisticated forms of distortions of what is
       old. (How old? Pope Francis suggested in January        published — and greater speed in spreading lies.
       2018 that it can be traced to the serpent’s lies to
       Eve in the Garden of Eden.)                             As news consumption has moved online, news
                                                               organizations long recognized for their credibility and
       For eons, people around the world have shared all       adherence to traditional standards of quality journal-
       sorts of information — the news that’s important        ism have seen their profits disappear and their staffs
       to have, to be sure, but also the latest rumors and     decimated. As a result, many communities have lost
       the hottest gossip. Community, city, regional and       common sources of information — and a common
       national leaders handed down what they wanted           understanding of facts.
       the public to know and believe. Then, as now,
       there were three basic elements to the transfer         Add social platforms with their algorithms and bots,
       of information: the source, the message itself          and the public is now caught in a powerful and danger-
       and the recipients.                                     ous whirlwind of self- and auto-selected news, rumors,
                                                               gossip, state-sponsored propaganda and falsehoods.
       While these are still the basic elements of
       information exchange within communities and             And dangerous it is: While technology has led to
       among societies today, technology and the               leaps in people’s abilities to stay in touch with family
       internet have immeasurably changed the nature of        and friends, lead more informed lives, create positive
       each and created a vastly different ecosystem for       change in their communities and more, it has also led
       news.                                                   to a world in which the internet and social media plat-
                                                               forms have allowed people to see only the viewpoints
                                                               they want to see, with their existing beliefs reinforced
                                                               by what the internet serves up. Today, technologies
                                                               are being used as weapons in a fight for power and
                                                               money, tapping into and exacerbating our best and
                                                               worst traits.

                                                               Of today’s media fragmentation, consisting of filter
                                                               bubbles and echo chambers, Jonathan Albright of
       Today, everyone with an internet connection — 4.3       Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journal-
       billion people as of January 2019, or more than         ism in New York City says: “Our technological and
       half of the world’s population — can be a publisher,    communication infrastructure — the ways that we ex-
       even just by retweeting a Twitter post or sharing a     perience reality, the ways we get news — are literally
       meme. That means there are billions and billions of     disintegrating around us.”
       pieces of information, distributed as images, videos,
History of Misinformation                                                                                                       11

       To understand the battle between “fake news” and               purpose, as the American Press Institute puts it, is
       journalism in today’s digital world, it helps to know a       “to provide citizens with the information they need
       bit of the history of both.                                    to make the best possible decisions about their
                                                                      lives, their communities, their societies, and their
       Standards of reporting                                         governments.”

       Today’s high-quality journalism is founded on facts,          The origins of journalism, with its core concept
       but that’s not the way it has always been.                    of neutrality, lie in what professors John Maxwell
                                                                     Hamilton and Heidi Tworek, among others, call an
      “Journalism” and “news” are not interchangeable                Anglo-American model that emerged in the late 19th
       concepts, and the two have a long, intertwined                and early 20th centuries (PDF download). Numerous
       history. Accurate eyewitness reports of events are            factors in the United States and Britain, including
       only a small part of the information ecosystem,               the greater profit that owners found in owning
       which also includes a mix of entertainment, biased or         nonpartisan news outlets, led to a system of practices
       sensationalized reports, and outright fictions.               and beliefs that credible news organizations aspire to
                                                                     today: impartial, independent news reporting whose
      “News” goes back to when balladeers sang stories, or           methods, such as attribution, are clear enough to the
       people gathered at watering holes to talk. “News,” too,       public that people are able to decide how trustworthy
       was the piece in a Scottish broadside (single-sheet           the information is.
       newspaper) in the mid-1700s about a mermaid seen
       near Inverness. It also was The War of the Worlds, the        (Elsewhere at the time — including in France, for
       1938 radio drama about a Martian invasion of the U.S.         example, as Jean K. Chalaby notes in his 1998 book,
       state of New Jersey that many listeners believed was          The Invention of Journalism — journalists continued to
       an actual news report.                                        mix news and opinion and “to write in the tradition of
                                                                     publicists, writing to propagate political doctrines and
                                                                     defend the interests of a particular political group.”)

                                                                     Fact-based journalism did not grow — and has not
                                                                     grown — equally in countries throughout the world.
                                                                     Hamilton and Tworek also note that such aspirations
                                                                     did not thrive in countries where “the public had low
                                                                     literacy and oligarchs controlled the press.”

                                                                     That continues to be the case today: The
                                                                     Committee to Protect Journalists, an international
                                                                     nongovernmental organization based in New
                                                                     York City, tracks the countries where reporters are
                                                                     threatened, jailed or killed for trying to report the
       Nowadays (and perhaps then), the mermaid tale                 news. In countries with repressive regimes, citizens
       would be considered wholly made up and the Martian            officially learn only what the government wishes
       invasion satire. Needless to say, neither was based in        them to hear — and even then, reporters for state-run
       facts. That’s where “journalism” comes in.                    operations might live in fear.

       Journalism standards and codes of ethics — generally,          Even in countries with a model of objective reporting,
       the attempt to uncover the facts and report them               much of what outlets publish or broadcast as
       fully, fairly, accurately and contextually — are relatively   “news” is actually entertainment. Or it could be
       new, even in countries with a free press. Journalism’s         sensationalized, highly partisan or made-up stories
History of Misinformation                                                                                                   12

      “Fake news means what
      your side says it does.”

            — Craig Silverman of BuzzFeed News

      that can attract readers or viewers (and, therefore,
      profits), just as was the case hundreds of years ago
      — only now the reach and influence are reinforced by
      the sheer power of the internet.                          U.S. President Donald Trump, CNBC, 2017

       And, as never before, citizens of democratic             But the meaning of those two words changed on Jan.
       countries can be targeted by repressive state actors.    11, 2017, when Donald Trump, only nine days from
       It’s not a new phenomenon; during the Cold War, for      being inaugurated as president of the United States,
       example, what the Soviets called “dezinformatsiya”       pointed to a journalist from CNN — which had reported
       was used to plant seeds of discontent among              the previous day on a document that contained
       specific communities in the U.S. “to harden people’s     controversial allegations about Trump — and said: “No
       existing beliefs and fears [and] sow divisions among     questions from you — you are fake news!”
       Americans.” Today, though, these efforts have
       reached new heights, with almost daily reports of        “In that moment, fake news was conscripted to fight
       outside forces attempting to influence elections          in the partisan wars, and was co-opted by Trump,”
       around the world through social media.                    Silverman wrote. “This instantly made it harder to win
                                                                 the actual fight against the manipulation of platforms
       In other words, news organizations that are trying        for profit and propaganda, the real challenges facing
       to inform citizens in a responsible and fact-based        democracy in a connected age, and the risks of
       manner are fighting for attention and credibility with    censorship from platforms and governments alike.”
       actors of varying motives, including state-sponsored
       trolls trying to sow division, content farms out to      Silverman rues his role in making the phrase part of
       make money, and internet trolls intent on harassment     the contemporary lexicon, even while noting that it has
       and provocation.                                         long since lost its original meaning — or, to be honest,
                                                                any real meaning.
       Fake news and ‘fake news’
                                                                “The story of ‘fake news’ symbolizes how our current
       Those fighting “fake news” say it’s important to          information environment operates and is manipulated,
       define it carefully.                                      how reality itself is shaped and bent,” he wrote. “So
                                                                 long as you have enough followers, propagators,
      In 2014, as a research fellow at Columbia University’s     airtime, attention — and the ability to coordinate all
      Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Craig Silverman         of them … you can literally brand real things as fake.
      began tracking unverified claims and online rumors.        Repeat it often enough, and you manufacture reality
      As media editor at BuzzFeed News, he applied the           for a portion of the population. Fake news means what
      phrase “fake news” only to wholly made-up stories          your side says it does.”
      — the same definition that was applied in the late
      19th century, when the term (according to Merriam-        Claire Wardle, the executive director of First Draft, and
      Webster, the dictionary publisher) was first used in      Hossein Derakhshan, a writer and researcher, are
      the United States.                                        the authors of the 2017 report Information Disorder:
                                                                Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research
History of Misinformation                                                                                                    13

       and policy making (PDF download), prepared for the        Motive matters too, they write. Who is the source,
       Council of Europe. They see the phrase “fake news”        and what is the intent: Is it an ad to sell a product, or
       mostly as a cudgel used by politicians around the         propaganda to sell a belief?
       world — including President Bashar al-Assad of Syria,
       President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and President       Messages, motives and technology combined have
       Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines — to condemn           led to what Wardle and Derakhshan call “information
       journalists and censor news.                              disorder” (PDF download).

       Wardle discourages use of the phrase, largely             “We are witnessing something new: information
       because it is unhelpful: “The term ‘fake’ doesn’t          pollution at a global scale; a complex web of
       begin to describe the complexity of the different          motivations for creating, disseminating and
       types of misinformation (the inadvertent sharing           consuming these ‘polluted’ messages; a myriad of
       of false information) and disinformation (the              content types and techniques for amplifying content;
       deliberate creation and sharing of information             innumerable platforms hosting and reproducing this
       known to be false).”                                       content; and breakneck speeds of communication
                                                                  between trusted peers.”

                     Seven Types of Mis- and Disinformation

           Satire or parody                                      False connection
           When content is created for humor, with no            When headlines, visuals or captions don’t support
           intention to cause harm — but with the potential      the content (for example, headlines that lead a
           to fool.                                              person to click to learn more but where the stories
                                                                 don’t match the headline).
           Misleading content
           When information is used in a misleading way          False context
           to frame an issue or individual (for example,         When genuine content is shared with false
           suggesting that someone took a position that the      contextual information (for example, an image of
           person did in fact take — but leaving out important   an attack that occurred, but with a caption giving a
           information that would put the position in a          different time and place).
           different light).
                                                                 Manipulated content
           Imposter content                                      When genuine information or imagery is
           When genuine sources are impersonated (for            manipulated to deceive (for example, a fabricated
           example, attributing a fact to a well-known and       video, known as a “deepfake,” that substitutes a
           credible news source that did not actually report     person’s face or voice to make it appear that the
           the fact).                                            person is doing something that actually was never
                                                                 done or saying something that actually was never
           Fabricated content                                    said).
           When content is 100% false, designed to deceive
           and do harm.                                                        — From Information Disorder: Toward an
                                                                    interdisciplinary framework for research and policy
                                                                      making by Claire Wardle and Hossein Derakhshan
History of Misinformation                                                                                                14

                                                                               2.2 BILLION USERS
                   Motives and More
                                                                               1.9 BILLION USERS
          “Misinformation” is false information
          shared with no intent to harm, such as when                          1.5 BILLION USERS
          someone shares an untrue rumor as a matter
          of gossip.                                                           1 BILLION USERS
          “Disinformation” falls under the
          umbrellas of both false and harmful, and              governments. As the Reuters Institute for the Study
          includes hoaxes, misleading context and               of Journalism at the University of Oxford noted in its
          manipulated or fabricated content.                    2018 digital news report:
          “Malinformation” is harmful, and
          includes harassment and hate speech.                  “A safe place for free expression has been one
                                                                 factor driving the rapid growth of messaging apps
                                                                 in markets like Turkey, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.
                     — From Information Disorder: Toward an      In our data we find a strong correlation between
          interdisciplinary framework for research and policy
            making by Claire Wardle and Hossein Derakhshan       use of networks like WhatsApp and self-expressed
                                                                 concern about the safety of posting political
                                                                 messages. The highest levels of concern (65%) are
                                                                 in Turkey, where a failed coup two years ago led
      Technology-fueled misinformation                           to opponents of President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan
                                                                 being jailed and the media muzzled. In a country
       To know where damage is being done, it helps to
                                                                 that the U.S. NGO Freedom House recently labelled
       know where people are exchanging information
                                                                ‘not free’ for the first time, encrypted messaging
       and news. Today, that’s increasingly online, using
                                                                 apps like WhatsApp have proved a relatively safe
       social networking sites and apps — where people’s
                                                                 way to express political views.”
       behaviors are shaped by algorithms and their beliefs
       influenced by bots.
                                                                Both bots and our own behavior create the online
                                                                world we each inhabit.
       Among the most popular worldwide are Facebook,
       which has long topped the list in terms of numbers
                                                                Bots — automated accounts that can appear to
       worldwide, with more than 2 billion active users;
                                                                be the accounts of real people — can send out
       YouTube (owned by Google), the largest video
                                                                messages on a massive scale. And human behavior
       networking site; WhatsApp (owned by Facebook),
                                                                doesn’t help. Simply put, people tend to spread
       an instant messaging service; Facebook Messenger,
                                                                misinformation (which is often more titillating and
       an instant message service within Facebook; and
                                                                interesting than the truth) far more widely and
       Instagram (owned by Facebook), a photo-based
                                                                quickly than less sensational news. Also, posts that
       sharing site. In China, where the government blocks
                                                                tap into primal emotions spread farther and faster
       access to Facebook and Google products, WeChat,
                                                                online because they keep people engaged longer,
       a mobile messaging, social media and payment app,
                                                                thus gaining an even larger audience.
       has 1 billion users.

                                                                The most dangerous situation — one that threatens
       Because they are private forums, not public
                                                                democracy — is what Facebook calls “false
       platforms, messaging apps especially are growing
                                                                amplification” (PDF download), which it defines as
       in countries with increasingly authoritarian
History of Misinformation                                                                                                                                                                                                                      15

      “[c]oordinated activity by inauthentic accounts with            tweets — 9 million from the IRA alone, the rest largely
       the intent of manipulating political discussion (e.g.,         linked to accounts in Iran — that had been sent in an
       by discouraging specific parties from participating            effort to influence and disrupt political debate, both
       in discussion, or amplifying sensationalistic voices           in the U.S. and globally.
       over others).”
                                                                      Indeed, according to a number of researchers trying
       In May 2018, nearly a year after Facebook posted               to fight disinformation, “[n]ation-states and politically-
       those words, the U.S. House Permanent Select                   motivated organizations have long been the initial
       Committee on Intelligence released 3,500 Russia-               brokers of misinformation.”
       linked ads that had been published on Facebook and
       Instagram accounts before and after the 2016 U.S.             Two University of Oxford researchers who focused
       presidential election. As special counsel Robert S.           narrowly on just that aspect of disinformation found
       Mueller III wrote in his February 2018 indictment of          evidence in 48 countries — up from 28 in 2017 — of
       13 Russian individuals and three companies, those             at least one political party or government agency
       accounts were able to “reach significant numbers              attempting to manipulate public opinion. In their
       of Americans for purposes of interfering with the             2018 study Challenging Truth and Trust: A Global
       U.S. political system, including the presidential             Inventory of Organized Social Media Manipulation,
       election of 2016” — a conclusion that had also been           Samantha Bradshaw and Philip N. Howard call
       reached a year earlier by the Office of the Director of       these parties or agencies “cyber troops.” Since
       National Intelligence in a report stating that, based         2010, political parties and governments have spent
       on information obtained by the Federal Bureau of              more than half a billion dollars on the research
       Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency and the        and implementation of psychological operations
       National Security Agency, Russian President Vladimir          over social media. In most cases, this has involved
       Putin had ordered the pre-election activity with the          spreading misinformation during elections, military
       goal of disrupting the U.S. political system and              crises and humanitarian disasters.
       electing Donald Trump as president.
                                                                    “The manipulation of public opinion over social
       At least 700 Facebook pages and accounts (and                 media platforms has emerged as a critical threat to
       likely many more) were linked to the Internet                 public life,” Bradshaw and Howard wrote, calling the
       Research Agency (IRA), a Russian propaganda                   phenomenon “computational propaganda” — which
       organization, feeding lies to very specific target            they define as “the use of automation, algorithms and
       audiences based on interests people had shown in              big-data analytics to manipulate public life.”
       their online activities. Of these and other efforts,      Figure 1: Global Cyber Troop Capacity: 2018

       wrote Mueller, the IRA “had a strategic goal to sow
       discord in the U.S. political system.”

       Accusations of Russian interference continued in
       advance of the U.S. Senate and House elections
       in November 2018. On Oct. 19, just weeks before
       Election Day, the U.S. Department of Justice
       charged a Russian national with conspiracy to
       defraud the United States by allegedly managing
       a project with a budget of $35 million — paid for
       by a close ally of Putin — that created thousands
       of email and social media accounts to conduct
      “information warfare against the United States.”           Source: Authors’ evaluations based on data collected. Note: This table reports on cyber troop size, resources, team permanency, coordination, and capacity. See Table 4 for
                                                                      Map of global cyber-troop capacity from Challenging Truth and Trust, with
                                                                 data on global cyber troop capacity. For capacity:  = minimal capacity,  = low capacity,  = medium capacity,  = high capacity
                                                                                                                                                20
      That same day, Twitter released more than 10 million            darker countries illustrating a greater capacity (size, resources, funds,
                                                                      coordination). Click on the image for a PDF download of the report.
History of Misinformation                                                                                                  16

       Yet the attempts to sow discord cannot be gauged                            In the Philippines, a former
       just by numbers, according to the Tow Center’s                              senator and critic of President
       Albright, who characterized the addition of                                 Rodrigo Duterte was imprisoned
       propaganda and lies as drops of misinformation                              following a series of viral hoaxes
       that pollute the entire information ecosystem in                            that spread on Facebook, which
       unseen but real ways. Here are some examples of                             Duterte encouraged.
       information warfare fueled by the internet:
                                                                                   In the United Kingdom,
                     In Mexico, two men were attacked                              thousands of bots linked to
                     and burned to death by a mob in 2018                          Russia’s Internet Research
                     after false rumors began circulating                          Agency sent messages on Twitter
                     on WhatsApp about the presence of                             with the hashtags #Brexit and
      child kidnappers in a remote village. Troll networks                         #ReasonsToLeaveEU on June
      on Twitter — some run by bots, some by real persons                          23, 2016 — the day Britain voted
      — have posted death threats aimed at journalists.                            whether to continue its membership
                                                                                   in the European Union.
                       In Myanmar, Buddhist extremists
                       spread rumors on Facebook that set                          In Brazil, WhatsApp was used
                       off a deadly riot in 2014; three years                      to spread misinformation and
                       later, hate speech on Facebook led to                       disinformation in advance of the
                       ethnic cleansing against the country’s                      presidential election and runoff
                       Rohingya minority.                                          in 2018. One Brazilian newspaper
                                                                                   revealed a coordinated campaign
                       In Ukraine, where tensions have been        that would have sent millions of false and misleading
                        high since Russia annexed Crimea           WhatApp messages to voters a week before the
                        in 2014, YouTube videos designed           runoff.
                        to discredit pro-Ukrainian forces
                        and stir up conflict were released in      For their part, tech companies insist that they
       2017. They were created by a pro-Russia propaganda          are neutral platforms and struggle to maintain
       outfit in Ukraine that worked with Russia’s Internet        a balance between that stance and making the
       Research Agency.                                            types of editorial choices that news organizations
                                                                   must make in what to allow online. Each platform
                       In India, rumors that included              periodically announces a way in which it is trying
                       doctored images and text messaging          to tighten security: For example, in October
                       in 2012 led to violent protests and         2018, a month before the U.S. Senate and House
                       sent 300,000 citizens fleeing in fear       elections, Facebook invited reporters to see what
                       of attacks. In 2018, two dozen people       it called its “election war room”; that same month,
                       were killed by mobs who had followed        Twitter announced its new attempts to combat
                       WhatsApp viral rumors.                      disinformation. Two months before, both Twitter
                                                                   and Facebook said they had removed hundreds of
                      In Nigeria, inflammatory photos              fake pages and accounts that originated in Iran and
                       and false information on Facebook           Russia and were attempting to meddle in politics in
                       contributed to more than a dozen            the United States and the United Kingdom.
                       killings in 2018 in an area already riven
       by ethnic violence. Facebook disabled the account           In addition, Facebook has expanded its worldwide
       of a man in the United Kingdom who was spreading            fact-checking capabilities by partnering with
       these falsehoods.                                           independent fact-checking groups certified by the
History of Misinformation                                                                                               17

       Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking         Combating misinformation
       Network; these efforts, now in more than 20
                                                               and disinformation
       countries, also include reviews of photos and videos
       for manipulation.
                                                               Given that today’s complex information ecosystem
                                                               still includes the basic elements of sender, message,
       Distrust and civic life                                 and receiver, it makes sense that attempts to rein
                                                               in misinformation address all of these elements.
       A 2018 report from the RAND Corporation — Truth         Technology — the basis for the most popular
       Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role   methods of disseminating information today — has a
       of Facts and Analysis in American Life — examined       role as well.
       the American public’s relationship to news, trust and
       truth. Its broad findings can be applied worldwide.     A useful breakdown is found in How to combat
                                                               fake news and disinformation, a 2017 report by the
                                                               Brookings Institution, a research and public policy
          The authors, Jennifer Kavanagh                       center in Washington, D.C. It recommends five routes
                                                               to fight disinformation and one way not to fight it:
          and Michael D. Rich, define
                                                               through overly restrictive government intervention.
          “truth decay” as:                                    (Why? Because governments around the world are
                                                               increasingly demonizing and jailing journalists, often
          •   Increasing disagreement about facts              using charges of “fake news.”)
              and analytical interpretations of facts
              and data.                                        These routes to fighting mis- and disinformation
                                                               include:
          •   A blurring of the line between opinion
              and fact.                                        Government. To maintain healthy societies,
                                                               governments should support independent
          •   The increasing relative volume, and
                                                               professional journalism — reports that make sense
              resulting influence, of opinion and
                                                               of complicated developments and clarify rapidly
              personal experience over fact.                   changing events. They should also avoid crackdowns
          •   Declining trust in formerly respected            on the media, which limit freedom of expression.
              sources of factual information.
                                                               News organizations. Credible news outlets can
                                                               champion society’s need for responsible journalism,
                                                               and promote their own fact-checking initiatives.
       Among causes of people’s tendency to trust less,        Transparency efforts that show how good journalism
       they say, are the way in which humans process           works include explaining the decisions that led to
       information — for instance, naturally seeking           publication of a story, publishing documents that
       out and seeing only what they already believe (a        a report relies on, and tapping the wisdom of the
       phenomenon known as confirmation bias) and              crowd to help ferret out additional information.
       relying on what they hear from friends — and            They also can support the work of independent
       changes in the information system, including the        fact-checking organizations in their countries.
       rise of social media and the wide dissemination of      The International Fact-Checking Network was
       disinformation and misleading or biased information.    established in 2015. Its 2018 Global Fact-Checking
                                                               Summit in Rome, Italy, included representatives from
                                                               fact-checking initiatives, academia and technology
                                                               companies in 56 countries.
History of Misinformation                                                                                                18

       Technology companies. These businesses,                   According to a 2018 survey by the Pew Research
       which now power almost every aspect of society            Center in Washington, D.C., about two-thirds of
       worldwide, should invest in fact-checking technology      Americans get at least some news from social
       and ways to use human monitors more wisely. They          media, though many of them now expect that what
       should “stop the monetization of fake news” by            they see there is inaccurate and untrustworthy. The
       weakening the financial incentives that lure trolls       2018 digital news report by the Reuters Institute for
       to place sensationalized or false stories. (During        the Study of Journalism found that, worldwide, as
       the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, teens in             news literacy increases, trust in news from search
       Macedonia wrote or shared on Facebook completely          engines and news from social media becomes less
       untrue stories meant to appeal to U.S. supporters of      widespread.
       Donald Trump. Their 140 websites and hyperpartisan
       Facebook pages earned them “easy money,” in one           In short, as Yale University historian Timothy Snyder
       teen’s words, by drawing an enormous number of            has written:
       clicks and shares.)

       Educational institutions. Governments should
                                                                 “Believe in truth. To abandon
       be encouraged to fund news literacy programs,             facts is to abandon freedom.”
       especially in countries where people are going
       online for the first time. Of particular importance are
       programs for young people.

       Public awareness. Finally, members of the public
       need to take responsibility for their media habits.
       The strategies taught in educational programs —
       checking a variety of sources, learning how to judge
       news sites and verifying images and content before
       sharing — are ones the general public can, and
       should, use too.
News Literacy and Civics Education                                                                                                 19

          Chapter Three

       News Literacy and
       Civics Education

       For decades, civics education in the United States
       was largely based on rote memorization of facts
       considered important in U.S. history. Anecdotally,
       students in middle grades spent more time
       memorizing the preamble to the Constitution (“We
       the people of the United States …”) than learning the
       relevance of the rights and freedoms set out in that
       document. Internationally, this was the case as well;
       as recently as the 1990s, when former dictatorships
       and Communist countries became democracies,
       students had to learn a new set of facts: the nuts
       and bolts of how a democratic form of government
       works.

       Today, civics education is focused on understanding
       and applying that knowledge so students can become
       active and engaged participants in the life of their
       communities and countries. And if civic engagement
       is about being connected to the life of the community,
       then students must be informed about — and               The Checkology virtual classroom has been integrated into social
                                                                studies lessons at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia.
       understand — the things going on around them. This is
       the role of news literacy education.

           There are two key areas where news literacy and civics intersect in
           the classroom:

           •   Students must build knowledge about journalism, mass media and other information and
               understand how this information is created and published.

           •   Students must strengthen their ability to critically analyze their existing media preferences —
               especially the use of social media as a source for news.
News Literacy and Civics Education                                                                                        20

       Teachers typically focus on the first point, with an     Of these practices, “deliberations of current
       emphasis on legacy local news outlets (such as daily     controversial issues” stands out as the key
       or weekly newspapers) and national news sources          component where news literacy education connects
       (such as weekly or monthly magazines and network         directly with the civics curriculum. Focusing on this
       news organizations). While students do need to           requires essential skills that students must master
       learn how to evaluate news from these sources, the       and that news literacy education provides — for
       reality is that very few young people — even as they     example, students must be able to differentiate
       grow older — will use them the way their teachers        between news and opinion and be able to evaluate
       and parents do. In their 2017 report The Republic        the arguments and evidence used to support the
       is (Still) at Risk and Civics is Part of the Solution,   latter.
       Tufts University researchers described the changes
       needed in 21st-century civics education. First on the    In addition, students must be able to recognize
       list: “Prepare students for a world of social media      different types of bias, especially their own. News
       instead of printed local newspapers.”                    literacy provides the spark that can motivate
                                                                students to learn more about — and then become
                                                                more connected to — their communities. Critical (and
                                                                thoughtful) news consumption is essential to civic
          The Tufts report also lists
                                                                engagement.
          six proven practices of civic
          education that need to be part                        Today, students can connect with elected and
          of a quality civics course:                           government officials in ways not available a
                                                                generation ago. With the critical evaluation skills
          •    Courses on civics, government, law and           that news literacy provides, students are empowered
               related topics.                                  to connect and interact with their elected officials,
                                                                especially on social media.
          •    Deliberations of current controversial
               issues.                                          An especially important area of focus for civics
          •    Service learning.                                education is to encourage students to become
                                                                regular consumers of local news. People with
          •    Student-created and -led organizations.          strong local news habits have a closer attachment
          •    Student voice in schools.                        to their local communities, are more likely to vote
                                                                in local elections and participate in local group and
          •    Simulations of adult civic roles.                political activity, and are more likely to engage in
                                                                conversations about current events that affect them
                                                                and their communities.
       An essential prerequisite for many of these
       practices is ensuring that students are news-            There are several other areas where civics education
       literate — that they have been empowered to be           and news literacy skills connect. During election
       critical consumers of news and other information.        years or in times where political issues are
       Understanding the needs of the community helps           widely discussed, students can use news literacy
       students as they participate in service learning         techniques to evaluate information and distinguish
       projects. Creating student-led organizations and         among news, opinion and propaganda. They can
       student voice committees and participating in            also use these skills to identify politically motivated
       simulations of adult civic roles also require students   misinformation — a constant challenge on social
       to have a basic understanding and knowledge of the       media. As they follow political campaigns, students
       world around them.                                       can apply fact-checking skills — both to the claims
News Literacy and Civics Education                                                                                                   21

       made by candidates and to the endorsements of
       those candidates by individuals and organizations.

       The goal of civics education in the 21st century is to
       prepare students to be active, informed and engaged
       participants in the civic life of their communities. It’s
       not enough for students to memorize details or recite
       facts about their country’s founding documents
       and history; students must be able to apply what
       they have learned. They must be able to evaluate,
       understand and effectively communicate political
       information, especially as it relates to their local
       communities. It is here where news literacy lays
       the foundation and develops the skills for students
       to become critical consumers of news and other
       information — which then empowers them to be
       engaged and informed citizens.

                                                                   Journalism teacher Noreen Connolly (left) guides a student at
                                                                   St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, New Jersey, through a Checkology
                                                                   lesson in 2017.
Lessons Learned                                                                                                             22

         Chapter Four

      Putting It Together: Lessons
      Learned and Best Practices
      Introduction

      As we noted earlier, our hope is that our experiences      Educators are our most important partners. We work
      will be useful to you as you introduce or expand news      closely with them as they use our programs to teach
      literacy programs in your community and country.           news literacy practices to students. Ties with news
      Here are some of the lessons we have learned over          organizations — top editors, producers, publishers
      the last decade.                                           and owners — help connect us with individual
                                                                 journalists, who have written about the News Literacy
      From the beginning, we established key partnerships        Project, appeared at our events and participated in
      in our efforts to spread the critical-thinking skills of   our curriculum, both in person and on video. You’ll
      news literacy, and it may be helpful for you to do so      find more information about these partners in this
      as well. These partners include:                           chapter.

                                                                 If you have not already done so, we recommend
                                                                 establishing relationships with all of these key players
                                  Educators                      as you begin to develop your program.

                                                                 As we expanded, we also needed to raise our profile
                                                                 — both among those partners and with the general
                                                                 public. Being able to communicate effectively, both
                                                                 about our organization and about the importance
                                   News                          of news literacy, was key, and we have some
                                Organizations                    suggestions that could help you.

                                   Individual                        Read on for an overview
                                  Journalists                        of how we developed our news
                                                                     literacy resources. You can use this
                                                                     as a road map as you start your
                                                                     own programs and work toward

                                   Students                          preparing a full curriculum.
Lessons Learned                                                                                                                 23

      Overview

      We began on a small scale, creating a series of          “Misinformation” and “Practicing Quality Journalism”)
      engaging lessons to give students in grades 6-12          are updated or adapted versions of lessons from our
      a foundation in news literacy concepts and skills         classroom program (“The Information Neighborhood,”
      and introducing these lessons in just a few schools      “Democracy’s Watchdog,” “The Power of Deception”
      (two schools and an after-school program in our           and the “Be a Reporter Game”).
      initial pilot). This allowed us to test and evaluate
      our curriculum (which grew to include hands-on           One key to getting into schools was the high degree
      e-learning resources and, as our program developed,      of flexibility that we offered teachers. We created
      digital media) and student project ideas as we           drop-in units that could fit into social studies, history,
      created them, improved them and established their        government, English, humanities or journalism
      viability and effectiveness.                             classes. They were not designed as a full course or
                                                               elective that would displace educators’ existing
      We also tapped into the passion journalists feel         lesson plans.
      for their work by bringing both active and retired
      journalists into schools to encourage students           These drop-in units also helped in terms of
      to seek verified information on any medium or            bureaucracy; teachers did not need to get approval
      platform. Working in concert with teachers and           from a school district or school board when they
      our staff, these volunteer journalists (we called
      them “journalist fellows”) extended what students
      were learning in our core curriculum by tying in their
      own compelling stories. Individually or in teams,
      journalists visited classrooms or connected with
      students in videoconferences. They helped to teach
      students how journalism works, how journalists
      verify information, why news matters to young people
      and what a free press and the First Amendment (the
      constitutional guarantee of, among other things, free
      speech and a free press) mean in U.S. democracy.

      In classes during school hours
      We introduced our classroom program in February
      2009, one year after NLP was founded. It became
      our laboratory and our showcase as we developed,
      tested and refined our curriculum and model.

      Even though our curriculum is now completely online,
      we still continue, with ongoing refinements, to use
      the formula from our in-person classroom program: a
      modular approach that provides smaller curriculum
      elements that teachers can use as stand-alone
      lessons, as thematic modules or in their entirety as a
      comprehensive news literacy unit, depending on what
      makes sense for them and their students. In fact, the
      four foundational lessons in our Checkology virtual      Sorting information then and now: A handout from our classroom
                                                               program (top) and the start of our “InfoZones” lesson in the
      classroom (“InfoZones,” “Democracy’s Watchdog,”          Checkology virtual classroom (bottom).
Lessons Learned                                                                                                                         24

      integrated news literacy into existing coursework                    programs, are plentiful, but teachers must be trained
      or when the class was discussing compatible                          to recognize these opportunities and supported with
      topics. As an example, individual educators in the                   resources to capitalize on them.
      U.S. could fit in our lessons about free expression
      and the watchdog role of a free press when their                     After-school programs
      classes were studying the Bill of Rights (the first 10               We partnered with several established after-school
      amendments to the U.S. Constitution) or examining                    programs in the cities where we had classroom
      the press and politics.                                              programs (New York City, the Washington, D.C.,
                                                                           area and Chicago). For all of them, it was vital that
      We told our partner teachers that our goal was                       the program find a way to engage the same group
      to help them do what they were already doing —                       of students on an ongoing basis and hold to a
      including teaching critical thinking — while at the                  predictable schedule for the news literacy classes
      same time bringing NLP’s focus and the journalists’                  (once a week on the same day, for example).
      expertise and experience into their classrooms. We
      also underscored where our lessons could help them                   Another possibility is offering news literacy classes
      meet required teaching standards.                                    as a kind of “camp” that students attend during
                                                                           school breaks or holidays. If these sessions can
      Right from the start, we refined our lessons, based                  also offer students a lunchtime meal or a snack,
      on what students and teachers told us and what                       this may entice parents to enroll their children, who
      our assessments showed in terms of student                           might otherwise have unstructured time during
      learning outcomes. Along the way, we learned                         school breaks.
      that opportunities to integrate news literacy into
      learning, either during school hours or in after-school

      Politico’s Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist, Matt Wuerker, gives impromptu drawing lessons to students from Thurgood
      Marshall Academy Public Charter High School in Washington, D.C., during their visit to the publication’s office in 2014.
Lessons Learned                                                                                                        25

          Next, we’ll describe more fully the partners and ideas that might be helpful to
          your own news literacy efforts, especially those that include journalists in the
          classroom. You can also plan to build into your coursework any or all of our
          four foundational lessons in our Checkology virtual classroom (“InfoZones,”
          “Democracy’s Watchdog,” “Misinformation” and “Practicing Quality Journalism”),
          which are available at no cost.

      Key Partnerships                                                Educators are experts in teaching complex
                                                                      concepts to their students, and in adapting
      Educators                                                       and delivering whatever resources they have
      Teachers are your partners from Day One. Though                 on hand. Giving them a space to collaborate
      you can offer professional development opportunities            and access the necessary support structures
      (more on that below), start with the understanding              will pay big dividends.
      that they are already teaching their students to think
      critically about news and other information. Let                Our classroom and after-school programs
      them know that you want to help them do what they               included resource guides for teachers, filled
      are already doing by providing additional expertise,            with background material on news literacy,
      experience and focus. Ask what they need — and                  our initial classroom lesson plans, guidance
      what they don’t have. Tell them that you welcome                for how news literacy can help meet required
      their feedback to let you know what is working and              teaching standards, and ideas for enriching
      what is not.                                                    what students were learning with discussions
                                                                      and projects. Today, the teacher handbook
             Keep in mind that they are probably already              and lesson guides for our Checkology virtual
             teaching some form of news literacy,                     classroom are online.)
             information literacy or media literacy in their
             classrooms. Do not believe — or act as if you     When teachers first approach “news literacy,” many
             think — that news literacy is the only way to     may have limited experience with, or understanding
             teach critical thinking. Reverse the idea of      of, what is included in this content area. It’s not
             who is helping whom: You will want teachers       enough to simply provide lesson plans or curriculum
             to give you guidance on how you can better        elements; educators need to understand the ideas
             meet their needs.                                 and core concepts behind them. We found that
                                                               creating professional development sessions —
             If possible, create a closed group on             offered online or in person — enabled educators to
             Facebook, WhatsApp or another social              become familiar with both the theory of news literacy
             platform to connect teachers with each other      and the fundamentals of teaching it.
             and with you as part of an online community.
             Seek their input through surveys, and share       For these sessions, it is helpful, but not essential,
             the results of student surveys with them. Try     that you gather together educators who have
             to make someone available to answer their         something in common — perhaps they all teach the
             questions and assist them when necessary.         same age group or subject matter or are in the same
You can also read