Do you believe everything you read in the news, and how critically do you analyze what you read? A growing field of journalism education called “news literacy” is tackling these questions head on. Once the provenance of American universities, the subject is now expanding abroad, where new models of teaching are gaining attention.
One such course at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre was recently highlighted in the Columbia Journalism Review for its innovative approach to de-Americanizing the news literacy curriculum, originally developed at Stony Brook University in New York, making it relevant to a more global student body.
The CJR article describes how JMSC lecturer, Dr. Masato Kajimoto, incorporated news literacy into his Principles of Journalism class. “I believed the course should help students develop their own mental tools to critically evaluate the types and sources of information they come across everyday in this information age,” he is quoted as saying.
After learning about the News Literacy Project at Stony Brook, JMSC Director Ying Chan invited Richard Hornik, the project’s Director of Overseas Partnerships Programs for the Center for News Literacy, to co-teach a course with Kajimoto in 2012. Hornik and Kajimoto replaced American stories from Stony Brook’s curriculum with examples from local media to make lessons more relatable.
Hornik told the CJR: “We teach students to evaluate news stories the way an editor would, to deconstruct the news article. We want them to ask, ‘Is the lede (the opening paragraph of the story) supported by the body?’”
Kajimoto is also spreading the word among Asia’s journalism educators. This summer, the JMSC, together with The Center for News Literacy, will host the second annual News Literacy Fellow workshop. The one-week immersion course, to be held July 27 to August 3, will feature a condensed version of the News Literacy Program, modified to reflect the region’s media environment.
“We’re looking for university educators in Asia who teach critical thinking to the first generation that lives out loud on social media,” Kajimoto says.
Information and registration details on the workshop will be announced on this website in May.