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News Literacy Program Receives Grant

Hiller stanley schneider 1
Hiller Stanley Schneider
From left: McCormick Foundation CEO David Hiller, Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., and Dean of the School of Journalism Howard Schneider.

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is giving a $330,000 grant to the School of Journalism’s Center for News Literacy to fund the delivery of training and materials demanded by the rapid spread of News Literacy courses.

“This is a huge boost for us,” said Howard Schneider, Dean of the School of Journalism. “This grant will enable us to share the curriculum materials we are developing here at Stony Brook with a rapidly growing number of universities and high schools linked by a common mission: to teach the next generation of students how separate legitimate news accounts from misinformation, propaganda, spin, and uninformed assertion.”

The projects being funded were showcased during the School of Journalism’s 2011 national News Literacy Conference, which was attended by the head of McCormick’s journalism program and David Hiller, CEO of the McCormick Foundation.

“We are pleased to continue our support of Stony Brook’s cutting-edge work in news literacy,” said Clark Bell, the McCormick Foundation’s Journalism Program Director. “The Center for News Literacy is the ‘go to’ source for training, resources, and innovation in the field.”

At the Stony Brook conference, News Literacy educators from across the country chose resources they need to accelerate the spread of News Literacy courses. The McCormick Foundation, which made News Literacy a central focus of its journalism program several years ago, then challenged Stony Brook’s Center for News Literacy to turn those ideas into a grant proposal to support several of those initiatives.The proposal was approved by McCormick’s board of directors and will enable Stony Brook to facilitate the following initiatives:

·      Launch a second summer training program for high school News Literacy teachers, in Chicago

·      Redesign and re-launch a richer Digital Resource Center stocked with free materials for News Literacy teachers

·      Complete development work underway on the nation’s first online for-credit training course for News Literacy teachers

·      Two rounds of easy-to-apply-for News Literacy “Innovation Grants” for programmers and classroom teachers

·      Development, testing, and freeware-style sharing of an assessment tool high schools will use to measure the outcomes of News Literacy courses

In addition, Stony Brook will use its national profile to drive traffic to News Literacy teaching tools that are being built at Florida Gulf Coast University, at News Trust in Mill Valley, CA, and in other partner organizations.

Some 21 colleges and universities across the country have adopted all or part of the Stony Brook Model, a course aimed at teaching students how best to find reliable information for their lives as citizens. During the same time period, more than 40 high schools have added the Stony Brook Model as a stand-alone course or significant unit within an existing course. This fall, Stony Brook’s Undergraduate Council approved a proposal to offer News Literacy as a for-college-credit ACE course.

“We’ve taken an open-source approach, sharing every element of the Stony Brook Model, from syllabus to Blackboard™ documents at no cost,” said Dean Miller, Director of the Center for News Literacy. “The rapid spread of the course demonstrates the effectiveness of that approach, and now the McCormick Foundation is giving us tools to keep up with the growing demand. They share our aspiration: News Literacy courses in all 50 states by 2017 and a slew of new digital tools that make it possible to teach one million students these essential skills for citizenship in the information age.”

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