The same time you are reading this there is probably a big flashing sign on your TV or on news websites announcing: "Breaking News" or "Just In" or "Exclusive." Everyday it feels like we are hit with a tidal wave of news and information from TV, websites, radio, newspapers, Twitter, Facebook and so much more. And especially during this highly charged election year, we can't get away from political ads and political pundits telling us what to think. This leaves the viewer and readers with the difficult task of dissecting the truth and the facts and distinguishing the "news" from opinions.
That's why the Enoch Pratt Free Library has teamed up with the American Library Association (ALA) on a new campaign, "News Know-How." This campaign hopes to engage librarians, journalists, news ethicists and students across the country in a news literacy education project. "News Know-how," is supported by the Open Society Foundations.
The Pratt Library, along with the Chicago Public Library, Oak Park Public Library in Illionis and several rural and urban libraries in Iowa, were chosen to be part of this project. The campaign will have seasoned journalists help Baltimore middle and high school students sort fact from fiction in the digital age. The project teaches students critical-thinking skills that will enable them to be smarter and more frequent consumers and creators of credible information across all media and platforms. It seeks to light a spark of interest in students to seek information that will make them more knowledgeable about their communities, the nation and the world.
"In today’s mass media environment it is critical that students are taught to analyze news coverage," said Barbara Jones, director, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. "Through the support of libraries under this initiative, students will be given the tools to assess the accuracy and credibility of news and information access across various media and platforms. They will also be encouraged to practice news literacy by engaging with the media in their communities."
Students will create projects that will be shared online. Students will start their "News Know-how" training later this September at the Central Library. The lead training organization for “News Know-how” is the News Literacy Project Inc. (NLP), a national nonprofit education program active in schools in New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, Maryland.