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Origin and History

Alan Miller, NLP’s president, discusses his Pulitzer Prize-winning series about the Marine Corps’ Harrier jet with students at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., as part of the first NLP unit sponsored by the John S. Carroll Memorial Fund. Photo by Joni Lucas-Shapiro

In 2006, Alan Miller, then an investigative reporter in the Washington bureau of the Los Angeles Times, was invited to speak to 175 sixth-grade students at his daughter’s middle school about what he did as a journalist and why it mattered.

He received 175 handwritten thank-you notes and began to think about the impact that many journalists could have if they shared their expertise and experience with the nation’s students. Two years later he founded the News Literacy Project.

In early 2009, NLP launched its initial classroom programs in one school in Bethesda, Md., and two in New York City, along with an after-school program in New York City. That fall, NLP expanded to Chicago, and later moved into the District of Columbia and Fairfax County, Va. In the spring of 2015, NLP completed its first pilots in Houston.  

In its first eight years, NLP reached more than 25,000 students through its work with more than 250 diverse and dynamic schools in four major markets. Journalist volunteers from 33 partner news organizations delivered more than 700 lessons, both in person and virtually, and were featured at a number of public events.

In May 2016, NLP launched a cutting-edge e-learning platform that allows us to reach students in classrooms, after-school programs and libraries — wherever there is an internet connection.

The checkology™ virtual classroom incorporates many of the best practices in e-learning, including self-pacing, blended and experiential learning, personalization, rich formative assessment, remediation and student challenges. Points and digital badges provide incentives and reward engagement and the application of new skills. The platform also includes a class discussion area where students share and comment on work, reflect on key questions and initiate their own conversations about the news and information they encounter in their daily lives. 

As of January 2017, more than 2,000 teachers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia had registered to use the checkology™ platform in their classes, serving almost 220,000 students.