MS 57 2013: Food for Thought

Sixth graders in East Harlem gained a foundation in the principles of journalism, including an obligation to the truth, the discipline of verification and the need for practitioners to remain independent thanks to NLP's partnership with Bloomberg News.

NLP’s inaugural partnership with Bloomberg News in New York City taught curious middle school students at MS 57/James Weldon Johnson Leadership Academy in East Harlem the value of quality journalism.

The after-school program for 6th-grade students teamed up with more than two dozen Bloomberg News journalists in a news literacy and journalism program led by NLP during the second semester of the 2012-13 school year. Students met twice a week and learned the basics of reporting, writing and producing news for print, radio and television. As a result, students published a multimedia news website, Food for Thought, exploring school lunches and their cafeteria.

“I loved the balance of news literacy education and journalist experiences,” said Jeanine Romeo, the MS 57 after-school teacher. “Students got to work on reading, writing and editing, which all fall under the Common Core State Standards.”

Students gained a foundation in the principles of journalism, including an obligation to the truth, the discipline of verification and the need for practitioners to remain independent. They applied these principles throughout the semester while working on a class reporting project about school lunches and their school cafeteria.

“News literacy means knowing the ingredients of a reliable story: sources, facts and specific numbers,” said Lizbeth Morales, a student in the after-school program. “If a story doesn’t have those ingredients, you should look for them yourself by contacting people that are relevant to the story. This is what we did.”

The program wrapped up with a field trip to Bloomberg News’ headquarters to present the student-created multimedia website on the subject of school lunches. The website includes a video, an audio report and several text items showcasing the students’ reporting skills on subjects such as nutrition guidelines, cleanliness and school lunch waste. 

NLP’s partnership with Bloomberg News was made possible through a grant from Bloomberg LP.