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The Importance of News Literacy

On October 23-25, sixty journalists, K-12 educators, scholars and researchers, students, civic leaders and media literacy advocates came together around the question:

Engaging people in civic life:  What is our work at the intersection of journalism and education?

One product of this work was a consensus statement on the importance of news literacy:

News surrounds us and as such news literacy is an essential life skill for everyone. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson: Knowledge of current issues is essential to informed citizenship in a democracy.  We are concerned about the effects of media messages on children and others. Modern participatory culture makes every citizen a potential creator of news in social media, blogs, email and the web. We believe a literate citizen understands the  purposes, processes and economics of news.

Therefore, it is time for American education to include the acquisition of 21st-century, critical-thinking skills for analyzing and judging the reliability of news, differentiating among facts, opinions and assertions in the media we create and distribute. News literacy standards can be research based in multiple content areas. It can be taught most effectively in cross-curricular, inquiry-based formats at all grade levels. It is a necessary component for literacy in contemporary society.

For more on the conference, visit www.rebootingthenews.org.


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