NAA Foundation Wins Knight Grant

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By: E&P Staff

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has awarded a $225,000 grant to the Newspaper Association of America Foundation to develop a Newspapers in Education (NIE) and student journalism program for sixth graders. The grant was announced Wednesday during the NAA Foundation’s Education Conference in Charleston, S.C.

Special emphasis will be placed on schools whose students are largely low-income and who do not speak English as a first language. The program’s goal will be to improve reading scores, expose more students to journalism as a possible career, and help all students understand the importance of the First Amendment.

“[Newspapers reach] young people in a way that traditional methods may not, and studies have shown that NIE programs have a particularly dramatic impact on underprivileged and minority schools,” Margaret Vassilikos, senior vice president of the NAA Foundation, said in a statement.

The curriculum will consist of three units on media literacy, journalism, and newspaper production. Development is expected to take six months. The program will be tested in three newspaper markets with diverse geographic areas and circulation sizes.

The NAA program builds on Knight’s $12 million High School Initiative to engage students in journalism and in understating the value of the First Amendment. Knight recently unveiled the results of a national research project gauging high school students’ attitudes toward the First Amendment. The survey found that most of America’s high school students either don’t know how they feel about the First Amendment or admit they take it for granted.

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