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WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 14, 2020 — Since 2008, the News Literacy Project (NLP) has helped students across the U.S. and beyond learn to sort fact from fiction. Now, to meet the urgent need for news literacy among people of all ages, NLP is unveiling free tools and resources for the public, including a customized version of its signature e-learning platform, Checkology®.
This expansion of NLP’s mission comes in response to the growing crisis of false information in America.
“We believe misinformation and a lack of news literacy skills and knowledge pose an existential threat to our democracy,” said Alan C. Miller, NLP’s founder and CEO. “We recognize the critical need for people of all ages to have the ability to determine what news and information to trust and to understand the importance of a free press as informed and engaged participants in a democracy.”
News literacy for all
NLP has developed a version of Checkology that provides the public with a comprehensive news literacy program. This is now available at no cost. Launched in 2016, Checkology is widely used by educators to teach middle and high school students the skills, habits and mindset needed to become savvy consumers of news and other information and civically engaged participants in our democracy. It includes 13 lesson as well as exercises, quizzes and activities that feature examples from current events, including the COVID-19 crisis and racial justice protests.
The new version for the public includes foundational lessons, supplemental practice opportunities and fact-checking tools for reverse image searches, geolocation and more. These resources teach users how to identify credible information, seek out reliable sources, understand media bias as well as their own, and apply critical thinking skills to differentiate fact-based content from falsehoods — such as viral rumors, conspiracy theories and doctored images and text. Users also gain an understanding of the importance of the First Amendment and the watchdog role of a free press.
NLP today also launched its podcast Is that a fact?, featuring experts who address the question, “How can American democracy survive and thrive in our toxic information environment?” The first episode, featuring Brendan Nyhan, a writer, professor and co-director of Bright Line Watch, is available on NLP’s website and on various podcast platforms. Upcoming guests include Kara Swisher of Recode and The New York Times, Maria Ressa of Rappler and Michael Luo of The New Yorker.
Hosted by Darragh Worland, NLP’s vice president of creative services and a former journalist, the show will include conversations with leading American thinkers, journalists, foreign policy experts, psychologists and authors. It will seek to help listeners understand how they can become part of the solution — by being better informed to protect themselves and the country from false information. Future segments in this 10-episode season will drop every Wednesday.
Starting Tuesday, Sept. 22, NLP will begin publishing a free weekly newsletter for the public called Get Smart About News. Adapted from its popular free newsletter for educators, The Sift®, this new publication will highlight and debunk timely examples of the most widespread rumors, hoaxes and conspiracy theories to help readers navigate today’s complex information landscape. It will arrive in subscribers’ in-boxes every Tuesday.
And in 2019, NLP launched a free mobile app Informable®. Updated in 2020 to address COVID-19 misinformation, Informable helps people of all ages practice four distinct news literacy skills in a game-like format using real-world examples.
The News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, provides 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. www.newslit.org