The JMSC has joined forces with Stony Brook University in New York State to expand “news literacy” teaching into the curricula at both The University of Hong Kong and other universities in Asia.
News literacy teaches students from all faculties how to select intelligently from the welter of information available on the Internet – how to become “informed news consumers in a digital age”. The course has been offered for five years at Stony Brook, and more than 8,000 students have taken it.
“News literacy helps people to distinguish between different information and work out what’s credible,” explained Richard Hornik, Director of International Programmes at the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook and a long-time journalist. “It’s applying critical thinking to figuring out what’s reliable information. This is an essential skillset for the younger generation because there’s a tsunami of digital information.”
Hornik is teaching the Principles of Journalism course at the JMSC this semester. He is also working with the with JMSC faculty and researchers to develop a culturally sensitive, Asia-based news literacy curriclum.
Ying Chan, Director of the JMSC, says instruction in news literacy is essential in the digital age.
“In this day and age, when citizens have become producers as well as consumers of news, journalism and media education must go beyond the confines of the traditional journalism curriculum,” said Chan. “News literacy should be embedded at all levels of education and also needs to be taken to society at large.”
The effort to expand news literacy education comes at a time when the JMSC is engaging larger numbers of non-JMSC students. This semester, Chan is teaching a university-wide course called Media in the Age of Globalisation, which has a record enrollment of 156 students from across the faculties. In the Spring semester, the JMSC will offer two other university-wide media-related courses under HKU’s Common Core Curriculum for undergraduates.
Hornik is an internationally recognised journalist, educator and editorial consultant specialising in business and economics.
During his long career, he has been Executive Editor of AsiaWeek; served as TIME’s bureau chief in Warsaw, Boston, Beijing and Hong Kong, and as its national economics correspondent in Washington, D.C. He designed and implemented editorial reorganisation plans at Reuters and the Harvard Business Review, and, since 2007, has been a lecturer in the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University.
“We are glad to partner with the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brooke University’s School of Journalism to spread to Asia their pioneering efforts in this field,” said Chan. “We look forward to working with the Center to develop news literacy education in Hong Kong, China and Asia.”