World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

USA - engaging the young then and now

USA - engaging the young then and now

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CONTACTS: kevin loker kevin.loker[at] and margaret.vassilikos [at]



The national youth engagement effort by United States has increased an emphasis on news literacy skills for everyday life, such as the above example about how to scrutinize sources of photos.


The United States, the birthpace of “Newspapers in Education” (NIE), is organized by a national organization. The first programs were started 75 years ago. The classic “Newspapers in Education” partnership between the local newspapers and schools to use printed newspapers as a supplementary teaching guide and media literacy resource in the classroom grew ultimately to more than 950 NIE programs delivering newspapers and educational programs. At its peak, 94% of all US newspapers with circulation in excess of 15,000 had an active NIE program; delivering 45.4 million newspapers in more than 100,000 schools.

The establishment of a national "Newspaper in the Classroom" program came in 1957, first sponsored by International Circulation Managers Association and moving to what became the Newspaper Association of America Foundation (NAAF). It was extensively expanded and enriched when shifted to the NAA Foundation (which merged with the American Press Institute in 2012).

The NAA Foundation role grew to support and advise three major programs, helping them move into the 21st century.  The first and largest of these is NIE.  The second has focused on content in newspaper that is aimed specifically at young people, some
written by young people themselves. The final mission has been the student press, supporting and advising those newspapers that are written by youth, mostly at the secondary school level.

By the early 2000s, the NAA Foundation was already encouraging a move to the digital arena by providing a social network for NIE professionals and a guide to doing “Digital NIE” using the news on electronic platforms of news publishers. The Foundation created a social media journalism toolbox for student reporters and their teachers and engaged the Poynter Institute to develop and deliver  a series of free online courses and webinars showcasing  best practices.

Another key role has been to do rigorous national research. Initiatives have include ground-breaking studies linking newspaper use in classrooms to academic achievement, especially among underprivileged students; of mobile device use by the young; as well as involvement with WAN-IFRA’s Youth Media DNA studies.

Other work includes the continuing development  and digital dissemination of curriculum materials, studies, white papers and new series of “Good Questions” interviews with innovative people who can inform news publisher youth engagement. While “media literacy” has always been a part of the mission, a new emphasis has emerged on the subset topic of “news literacy” to assure youth can decipher journalism and defend freedom of expression. 

The Newspaper Association of America Foundation is a founding member of WAN-IFRA's Young Reader Committee and has long supported WAN-IFRA's international outreach. It has repeatedly advised on Western Hemisphere training activity and was the host of the 2007 World Young Reader Conference, “Making New Connections.”

The American Press Institute continues  efforts with young people providing a number of youth news literacy resources.

These resources can be downloaded at

  1. A curriculum for teaching news literacy skills in middle school
  2. Six questions that tell you what media to trust.
  3. News in Education guides: For news professionals who want to organize or support News In Education programs in their communities.
  4. News literacy curriculum: For educators who want to teach middle-school or high-school students how to responsibly consume and produce news.
  5. Serial stories: For youth-focused publications to publish these free multi-part stories for young readers, who can then discuss them in class with their teachers.
  6. Student journalism resources: For students and advisors producing school-based media.
  7. Young audiences research: For news professionals and researchers, more than a decade of NAA Foundation studies into how young people consume 


Aralynn McMane's picture

Aralynn McMane


2011-11-24 18:08

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The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) helps newspapers, parents and teachers work together to engage the young to create a literate, civic-minded new generation of readers all over the world. Read more ...