For immediate release | February 21, 2012

The American Library Association announces 'News Know-how' campaign

CHICAGO—Today the American Library Association (ALA) unveils a new campaign to engage librarians, journalists, news ethicists and students across the country in a news literacy education project. The campaign, “News Know-how,” is supported by the Open Society Foundations.

The two-year, $750,000 project seeks to create partnerships and collaborations for a nonpartisan, critical analysis of news and information. In addition high school students, with public libraries as their “newsroom,” will learn how to distinguish facts from opinions; how to check the source and validity of news and information and how to identify propaganda and misinformation.

“In today’s mass media environment it is critical that students are taught to analyze news coverage,” said Barbara Jones, director, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. “Through the support of libraries under this initiative, students will be given the tools to assess the accuracy and credibility of news and information access across various media and platforms. They will also be encouraged to practice news literacy by engaging with the media in their communities.”

Libraries that will kick off the project include the Chicago Public Library, Oak Park (Ill.) Public Library, Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore and several Iowa rural and urban libraries working with the State Library.

Students will learn information literacy principles to help them develop critical thinking skills and analyze news coverage in all of its formats. Participants will have an opportunity to work with professional journalists and librarians as mentors and will create projects that will be shared online.

The lead training organization for “News Know-how” is the News Literacy Project Inc. (NLP), a national nonprofit education program active in schools in New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, Maryland:

The program will be assessed by a team at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with nearly 60,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information.

Active in more than 70 countries, the Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. Working with local communities, the Open Society Foundations support justice and human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education.


Macey Morales