Social Media

June 2015

President's Message
Dear NLP Friends and Supporters,

From the start, we have aspired to make excellence and impact the hallmarks of our programs. In this newsletter, we share examples of our success on both of these fronts.

NLP’s selection to appear in the Catalogue of Philanthropy: Greater Washington follows a rigorous vetting and competitive process and is a testament to the quality of our work.

Our profile of three students who recently graduated from George Jackson Academy in New York City following three years of news literacy lessons is indicative of our impact.

The confidence that such success has inspired is reflected by the addition of two participating news organizations and two new grants.

Our video, showcasing a journalist’s lesson about online hoaxes delivered virtually to schools in multiple cities, is one of the ways that we’re using digital technology to give students new kinds of learning experiences.

As always, thanks for your interest, participation and support — which make such recognition, impact and innovation possible.

All the best,


Alan C. Miller








On a recent virtual visit as part of NLP’s digital unit, Caitlin Dewey, who writes about social media for The Washington Post, advised students on ways to avoid being fooled by fake Twitter posts.

In Memoriam: John S. Carroll

The News Literacy Project has lost one of its original leaders and champions. John S. Carroll, who was a member of NLP’s founding board and served with great wisdom, integrity and commitment as chairman for four years (2011-2014), died Sunday. Throughout his illustrious journalism career, John embodied the values that NLP seeks to keep alive in the next generation. In John's honor, we have established the John S. Carroll Memorial Fund to support underserved high school students enrolled in NLP's programs.

NLP News
Special Recognition, a New Staffer and Partners, and Additional Support

The News Literacy Project has been chosen to appear in the prestigious Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington as “one of the best” community-based nonprofits in the region for 2015–16. NLP, based in Bethesda, Maryland, will be featured in the Catalogue’s print and online editions.

Erica Candia (left), a seventh-grade student at MS 57 in East Harlem, and NLP journalist fellow Max Abelson of Bloomberg review an article Erica wrote for the school paper, Tiger 57 News. Bloomberg held a year-end celebration for students and journalists who participated in this year's after-school program. Photo by Meredith W. Gonçalves

NLP was one of 78 nonprofits selected following a thorough evaluation and financial review process of more than 200 organizations. Each applicant received a site visit by at least one reviewer, and the Catalogue’s accounting firm reviewed potential finalists’ tax returns, audited financial statements and other key financial indicators to ensure that each had the financial viability and transparency that will inspire confidence in prospective donors.

Jee Yon Pae has joined NLP as our first full-time development professional. She came to NLP from the Urban Alliance, a Washington nonprofit that provides internships, training and mentoring to youths in under-resourced communities. During her 11 years at the Urban Alliance, which included nearly four years as chief development officer, Pae was part of a senior leadership team that oversaw growth from a program that served 100 Washington youths on a $1 million annual budget to one serving more than 1,000 young people in four regions on a $6 million annual budget. She previously worked as a high school teacher in Washington for two years through the Teach For America program.

The number of NLP’s participating news organizations has reached 30 with the addition this spring of a digital-first media company and a public radio station in Houston. Vox Media, which oversees eight digital publications from its office in Washington, and Houston’s KUHF, News 88.7, have endorsed our mission and are making their journalists aware of opportunities to volunteer with NLP.

NLP has received renewed funding from one foundation and an initial grant from another. The Dow Jones Foundation awarded NLP $25,000 to pay for mini-grants for underserved schools in New York City, Chicago, the Washington, D.C., region, Houston and Los Angeles to pilot NLP’s ambitious new e-learning platform in the next school year. The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust in Chicago approved a $5,000 grant to sponsor a classroom program at Pathways in Education, an alternative school for at-risk youth in Chicago.

NLP Spotlight
A Successful NLP Pilot Program in Houston Prompts Increased Demand

During a pilot of NLP’s classroom program at St. Agnes Academy, Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg told a ninth-grade communications class about her Pulitzer Prize-winning work. Photo by Tina L. Peterson

Dwaine Yeargin, an English teacher at Lanier Middle School, completed the News Literacy Project’s first unit in Houston in March — and says it was a great experience.

“The lessons were interesting, relevant, and very in-depth,” he said. “I felt the support for a new unit was very substantial. Everything we needed was provided.”

In fact, Yeargin and administrators at Lanier were so pleased with this pilot — delivered to 120 eighth-grade students — that they would like to make NLP’s classroom program available to all 450 students in the eighth grade in the 2015-16 school year.

Yeargin’s appraisal reflected the success of NLP’s three pilots in Houston this spring. The classroom program also reached 53 ninth-grade students at KIPP Northeast College Preparatory high school and 45 in two ninth-grade communications classes at St. Agnes Academy.

KIPP administrators say they would like all 150 ninth-grade students to receive the curriculum in the next school year. “Watching students engage with guest journalists was powerful,” said Gillian Quinn-Pineda, KIPP’s founding school leader.

Among the journalists who taught lessons at KIPP was Vernon Loeb, managing editor of the Houston Chronicle. He told students about his experience reporting in China following the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and related that event to the accountability of law enforcement in communities like Ferguson, Missouri.

At St. Agnes Academy, Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg focused on her investigation into the murder trial of a black man convicted of killing a police officer. Her columns documented serious flaws in the legal process and strongly suggested that the man had been wrongfully convicted. His conviction and death sentence were subsequently thrown out. Falkenberg was awarded this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. 

Assessment of the NLP pilots showed that students were especially engaged in the lesson about the important role of a free press in holding public and private institutions accountable.

When asked in the post-unit assessment to describe a favorite part of the NLP unit, a KIPP student responded, “Watchdog. Because I like the fact that someone got our back.”

NLP Profile

George’s Notes student editors (from left) Nicholas Hernandez, Neloy Kundu and Jared Jiang in the school library, where they met every week with other student journalists. Photo by Elis Estrada  

Students Take NLP Lessons to High School and Beyond

When Nicholas Hernandez entered George Jackson Academy in New York City as a sixth-grader three years ago, he never imagined that he would eventually become editor of the school’s newspaper, George’s Notes.

“I didn’t even know what news was when I came here; I paid no attention to it,” said Nicholas, 13, who recently graduated from the eighth grade.

His interest in the news was prompted by his experience with the News Literacy Project, which for the last three years has conducted a classroom program for students in the school’s newspaper club.

Nicholas and his co-editors, Jared Jiang and Neloy Kundu, have participated in the program since it started. They ended their tenure on the paper (and at the school) overseeing a group of student journalists who were putting into practice the skills they gained from NLP’s curriculum.

“Not only did NLP make it easier for me when I did a research project or looked something up, it made it easier for me to pick out what I can trust and what I can’t trust,” Nicholas said. “At the same time, it actually got me interested in the news.”

“We learned about the First Amendment and freedom of the press, which tied into what we wrote in the school newspaper,” said Neloy, who is also 13.

All three student editors said that a highlight of their experience was learning valuable interviewing skills from Candace White, an NLP journalist fellow and veteran television producer with PBS’s “Moyers & Company.” They said this gave them the confidence to ask tough questions.

Danielle Gregori, the school’s librarian and newspaper club advisor, said that NLP provided the tools the students needed to navigate today’s challenging information ecosystem.

“Now they look for authors, they look for bias, they openly talk about why something should not be used as a source,” she said. “NLP gave them a vocabulary to use for these discussions and the knowledge to defend their points.”

THE NEWS LITERACY PROJECT (NLP) is an innovative national educational program that mobilizes seasoned journalists and works with educators to help middle school and high school students sort fact from fiction in the digital age.

Click here to learn more about NLP and visit NLP's YouTube channel.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support NLP, you can do so here.

NLP thanks its major funders and all those whose support makes our program possible.

Copyright (c) 2015 The News Literacy Project. All rights reserved.

The News Literacy Project
5525 Devon Road
Bethesda, MD 20814