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Journalism Educators to Convene at Stony Brook to Assess and Expand Programs for Students to Become Better News Consumers

Journalism Educators to Convene at Stony Brook to Assess and Expand Programs for Students to Become Better News Consumers

News Literacy Conference features authors of controversial study – ‘Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses’

STONY BROOK, N.Y., March 15, 2011 – Journalism educators and professionals from around the country will convene this week at Stony Brook University’s Charles B. Wang Center for a national conference entitled “News Literacy, Building On Success,” the program for which will assess and expand the emerging news literacy education movement that began at Stony Brook in 2008. 
Those scheduled to attend the News Literacy conference include representatives from 38 universities and colleges interested in the initiative. The conference program will highlight “reports from the front” by a variety of college and high school educators currently teaching News Literacy, as well as: 
• A panel discussion on Separating Fact from Fiction in the Digital Age, moderated by former CBS News President Andrew Heyward
• A conversation with New Yorker media columnist Ken Auletta on the future of news
• An assessment by NPR media reporter David Folkenflik of recent news coverage in Egypt, Libya, Japan and the latest on domestic media coverage controversies

The conference will also include the presentation of a controversial new study, “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” by researchers Richard Arum, Professor of Sociology at New York University and Josipa Roksa, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. The authors followed 2,300 students at 24 universities over four years and found that more than a third of the students showed no improvement in critical thinking skills after four years at a university, and that there has been a decrease in both academic rigor and intellectual effort on the part of those students.

News Literacy is a growing nationwide effort to prepare the next generation of students and the population at large to become discriminating news consumers and citizens. Already, more than a dozen universities, coast-to-coast, are teaching a pioneering course in News Literacy first developed at Stony Brook University, and several major universities are poised to begin courses. The 2011 National Conference on News Literacy will convene the nation’s top university and high school educators, news media leaders, education policy makers and foundation leader including David Hiller, President and Chief Executive Officer, McCormick Foundation, which is underwriting the conference.  
The News Literacy program was developed at Stony Brook University by School of Journalism Dean Howard Schneider, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former Editor of Newsday. When designing Stony Brook‘s new School of Journalism, he determined that service to the First Amendment demands that a 21st Century journalism school devote as much attention to training citizens to be critical news consumers as it does to training journalists to serve democracy. 
In 2008, Stony Brook pioneered the nation’s first undergraduate course in News Literacy, with the support of a $1.8 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. More than 6,000 students, across all disciplines, have enrolled in the course to date. In March 2009, Stony Brook convened the first national conference on News Literacy. As a result of that conference, 13 universities and colleges are currently teaching a News Literacy course. The Center for News Literacy also hosts a summer institute for high school teachers, with 65 teachers attending from 12 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. The Center’s activities also have been supported by grants from the Ford Foundation and the New York Community Bank. The McCormick Foundation is the major underwriter of this year’s conference. 
For credentials, or for more information about the News Literacy conference, contact the Office of Media Relations at 631-632-6310 or email

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