Friday, April 9, 2021

Youth and News Literacy

By Sam Piha

Over the past two decades afterschool programs have invested in equity issues around digital access. We have built and expanded computer labs and instruction on how to use the internet, which many young people depend on to get their news. However, many have not trained staff how to help youth become news-literate.

A news-literate student is empowered to be reliably informed. They recognize the differences between news and opinion, identify misinformation, apply fact-checking and logic-checking tools and recognize cognitive biases. They prioritize information from verified sources of news and information to be active and engage in the civic life of their communities.

The News Literacy Project is a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, providing programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the abilities needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy. John Silva is their Senior Director of Education and Training. Below are some of John's responses to a recent interview. 

Q: What is "News Literacy"?

A: The ability to determine the credibility of news and other content, to identify different types of information, and to use the standards of authoritative, fact-based journalism to determine what to trust, share and act on.

Q: Why is it important now for youth?

A: Our vision is to see news literacy embedded in the American education experience, and people of all ages and backgrounds know how to identify credible news and other information, empowering them to have an equal opportunity to participate in the civic life of their communities and the country.

Q: Do you have a newsletter?

A: We have three actually. You can learn more about them and subscribe at

Q: Does your organization offer trainings for youth programs?

A: We offer professional learning for educators across subject areas, grade levels and educational environments.

John Silva is the News Literacy Project’s Senior Director of Education and Training. He joined NLP in March 2017 with 13 years of experience as a middle and high school social studies teacher with Chicago Public Schools. He first became involved with news literacy in 2014 when his students engaged in NLP’s original classroom program. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, John spent several years in corporate telecommunications positions before deciding to become a teacher.

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