McCormick Foundation Continues to Support SBU’s Center for News Literacy

The Center for News Literacy’s “Team Chicago”
At a meeting in January, News Literacy educators from the Chicago area gathered at the Center for News Literacy to organize three projects that will spread The Stony Brook Model into new communities. Professor Myiti Sengstacke-Rice of City Colleges of Chicago (first from right) is building a full cycle of News Literacy lessons based on the archives of the Chicago Defender, the powerful African-American-owned newspaper started by her great-granduncle. Professor Federico Subervi of Kent State University (second from right) has recruited a team of educators from Latino communities to build a News Literacy curriculum tailored to Latino media experiences. And Stan Zoller, a veteran high school journalism teacher (second from left) is coordinating a summer News Literacy teacher workshop for faculty of the City Colleges of Chicago and a training program for adult education leaders. Meeting with them from SBU’s Center for News Literacy are Michael Spikes (first from left), digital producer, and the Center’s Director Dean Miller (center).

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation has announced a grant of $300,000 to Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy in the School of Journalism that will continue support of training and materials for News Literacy courses during 2014-2015.

Several years ago the McCormick Foundation made News Literacy a central focus of its journalism program and approved support to Stony Brook’s Center for News Literacy for its initiatives. The Foundation gave the School of Journalism its first grant of $330,000 in 2012-2013 to help launch a summer training program for high school News Literacy teachers in Chicago, develop a richer Digital Resource Center stocked with free materials for News Literacy teachers, complete the nation’s first online for-credit training course for News Literacy teachers, and create News Literacy “Innovation Grants” for programmers and classroom teachers.

The latest grant will enable Stony Brook to facilitate the following initiatives:

1. Run a third summer workshop in 2014 to train City College of Chicago (CCC) faculty to teach the News Literacy course that has been adopted there. CCC is one of the nation’s largest single-system community colleges, with seven campuses and enrollment in excess of 120,000. Materials developed for CCC will be turned into a toolkit for community colleges nationwide that choose to add News Literacy courses.

2. Design and test a Latino-oriented News Literacy curriculum in English that is customized to students whose families depend on Spanish-language. It will convene an advisory group of leading Hispanic educators and researchers to analyze research on news habits in the Hispanic community and create a curriculum adapted to their needs. Once this curriculum is designed, it will be tested with a group of 25 Chicago-area Hispanic educators before being made available nationally.

3. Run a two-day training, webinar and follow-up program for 25 adult educators from Chicago. This will include McCormick grantees as well as adult literacy and other groups interested in news literacy. In addition, the Center for News Literacy will continue to nurture McCormick Foundation grantees, particularly those that focus on adult news literacy education.

4. Use the Chicago Defender archives to build a full semester of lesson plans that will engage Chicago students in the remarkable history of America’s oldest and most respected African-American-owned newspaper, from the Civil Rights movement to the present day.

5. Hire a part-time, Chicago-based program assistant to ensure maximum responsiveness to Chicago partners and coordination with McCormick Foundation staff. In 2014 this assistant will also be available to assist in planning the 2014 News Literacy Summit in Chicago.

About the Center for News Literacy
The Center for News Literacy teaches news consumers nationally to assess the credibility and reliability of news. Stony Brook’s work in News Literacy is led by Howard Schneider, Dean of the School of Journalism and former editor of Newsday, and Dean Miller, Director of the Center for News Literacy and veteran reporter, editor and former Nieman Fellow. The Center acts as a resource for other universities, develops curriculum for high school instruction, conducts teacher training programs and designs workshops that bring together scholars and journalists to explore issues related to the credibility of news reporting. Colleges and universities across the country have adopted all or part of the Stony Brook Model, a course aimed at teaching students how best to find reliable information for their lives as citizens. High schools also have added the Stony Brook Model as a stand-alone course or significant unit within an existing course.

About the Robert R. McCormick Foundation
Based in Chicago, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation is committed to fostering communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens. Through philanthropic programs, Cantigny Park and museums, the Foundation helps develop citizen leaders and works to make life better in surrounding communities. The Foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1955 upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is one of the nation’s largest foundations, with more than $1 billion in assets. For more information, please visit the McCormick Foundation website.

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