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News Literacy Program NewsWise Launches

June 2, 2018

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) and CIVIX this week launched NewsWise, a news literacy program for students in Grades 5 to 12. Its mission is to help students cultivate habits of news consumption and critical-thinking that support informed citizenship.

Lessons are designed to help students to recognize the standards of fact-based journalism, understand the difference between opinion and fact, develop an appreciation for journalism and traditional media, and identify whether a claim or source is credible.

News literacy program NewsWise launched ahead of Ontario voting

Toronto, May 31, 2018 – With the Ontario election just a week away, the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) and CIVIX are proud to launch NewsWise, a national news literacy program for Grade 5 to 12 teachers. The program is aimed at helping students cultivate habits of news consumption that support informed citizenship.

“One of the most pressing issues facing democracies today is the spread of mis – and disinformation,” says Natalie Turvey, executive director of the CJF. “Being able to determine what is fact or fiction online is an essential skill of citizenship in the digital age. NewsWise starts in the classroom to equip the next generation of news consumers with the tools and skills they need to be good citizens and think critically about what they see online.”

NewsWise lessons explore the relationship between journalism and democracy, help students recognize the standards of fact-based journalism, discern fact from opinion, identify the different types of incorrect information that circulate online, and provide tools and strategies for evaluating the credibility of information on the Internet. Content is focused on four themes: Journalism, The News, The Internet, and Fake News + Verification.

The curriculum includes videos on the NewsWise YouTube channel, featuring Canadian news leaders, journalists and academics speaking to the role of journalism in our society, explaining how newsrooms work, and taking students through tutorials on verification and fact checking.

The program will remain available year-round for teachers across Canada to use in conjunction with coming local and provincial votes, culminating with next year’s federal election.

With a grant from Google Canada, NewsWise was developed by CIVIX, the organization behind Student Vote, and CJF’s network of academics and journalists. The program is part of the Student Vote activities that reach 7,500 schools, representing 98 per cent of Canadian school boards. CJF is engaging Canada’s journalism community to support program delivery.

CJF and CIVIX consulted the following experts in developing the program:

  • Peter Adams, Senior Vice President for Education, The News Literacy Project;
  • Jon Anzalone, News Literacy Lecturer, School of Journalism, Stony Brook University;
  • Joshua Benton, Director of Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab;
  • Mark Busser, Instructor, Department of Political Science, McMaster University;
  • Michael Caulfield, Director of Blended and Networked Learning, Washington State University;
  • Joan Donovan, Media Manipulation/Platform Accountability Research Lead, Data and Society;
  • Dr. Elizabeth Dubois, Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa;
  • Guy Hoskins, PhD candidate in the Communication & Culture Program at York University;
  • Mathew Ingram, Chief Digital Writer, Columbia Journalism Review;
  • Fenwick McKelvey, Assistant Professor, Communication Studies, Concordia University;
  • Taylor Owen, Assistant Professor, Digital Media and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia;
  • Craig Silverman, Media Editor, BuzzFeed News;
  • Michael Spikes, Director of the Digital Resource Center for the Center for News Literacy, Stony Brook University;
  • Claire Wardle, Research Director, First Draft News; and
  • Sam Wineburg, Professor of History and Director, Stanford History Education Group, Stanford University.

About The Canadian Journalism Foundation
Established in 1990, The Canadian Journalism Foundation promotes, celebrates, and facilitates excellence in journalism. The foundation runs a prestigious annual awards and fellowships program featuring an industry gala where news leaders, journalists and corporate Canada gather to celebrate outstanding journalistic achievement and the value of professional journalism. Through monthly J-Talks, a public speakers’ series, the CJF facilitates dialogue among journalists, business people, academics and students about the role of the media in Canadian society and the ongoing challenges for media in the digital era. The foundation also fosters opportunities for journalism education, training and research.

About CIVIX
CIVIX is a non-partisan, national registered charity dedicated to building the skills and habits of active and engaged citizenship among young Canadians. CIVIX works with elementary and high-school teachers to promote civic education and deliver experiential learning programs to students across the country.

Its flagship program, Student Vote, is a parallel election for students under the voting age that coincides with official election periods. During the last federal election in 2015, 922,000 students, from more than half of all schools in Canada and representing all 338 ridings, cast ballots for the official candidates. This spring, 250,000 students, from 2,700 Ontario schools, will be participating in the 2018 Ontario provincial election.

(Via Canadian Journalism Foundation)

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