First Global News Literacy Conference

First Global News Literacy Conference


In early 2012 an anonymous donor approached Stony Brook University School of Journalism Dean Howard Schneider with what seemed like an outlandish idea: Take the News Literacy curriculum developed by the School’s faculty over the previous five years and adapt it so that it could be spread overseas.

The donor thought that the curriculum could be particularly effective in what he called ‘transitional media societies’ – that is, countries which were moving from information environments completely controlled by the governments to ones that were more mixed. In the previous state, it was easy to tell reliable from unreliable information because everyone knew the state media presented only information favorable to the government. The emergence of new information channels, including social media platforms like Facebook, presented a new set of challenges for citizens seeking reliable, actionable information.

In the fall of 2012, Stony Brook lecturer Richard Hornik was a visiting lecturer in the Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC) of the University of Hong Kong where, working together with Dr. Masato Kajimoto, he ‘de-Americanized’ News Literacy and made it the core element of the Principles of Journalism. The course was considered successful enough that for the next five years it served as the introductory course that all undergraduate journalism majors and minors must take.

Armed with this new, more adaptable curriculum Hornik and Kajimoto began sharing News Literacy with academics throughout East Asia, with particular success in Vietnam and Myanmar. At the same time, academics from Poland and Russia approached the Stony Brook Center for News Literacy requesting assistance in developing their own versions of the course. Since then more than 15 universities in 12 countries have adapted elements of News Literacy to their own media environments. And regional news literacy centers have been established at the Vietnam National University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland.

To further the worldwide effort to confront the challenges of the ongoing information revolution, and to capitalize on the opportunities a new paradigm presents, the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University hosted its First Global News Literacy Conference from August 13-15, 2017. The conference theme was The Future of News Literacy in a Connected World. The goals of this conference were to share and discuss best teaching practices, both in the classroom and through digital media; to develop strategies for expanding News Literacy to new groups of learners by tailoring lessons to specific audiences; to solidify the theoretical underpinnings of News Literacy; and to begin to collaborate on new assessment tools and research projects, including work based on surveys of News Literacy students.

The conference participants represented universities and educational institutions from Hong Kong, Poland, Vietnam, India, Russia, and Argentina. The fifteen papers they presented, and the discussions they inspired, demonstrated that News Literacy is a rich field of academic inquiry and pedagogical innovation.

Jonathan Anzalone, Richard Hornik and Howard Schneider
Center for News Literacy
School of Journalism
Stony Brook University

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First Global News Literacy Conference 2017