World Association of News Publishers

BELGIUM - engaging the young then and now

BELGIUM - engaging the young then and now

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In Belgium, PRESS.BE (the publishers of francophone dailies formerly united as Association Journaux Belges) is transforming its highly successful "Open My Daily" national news literacy programme based on use of print editions in classrooms to become a multifaceted  "Open My Digital Daily" initiative that will amplify use of digital editions in class and also enhance the use of news in school to assist teachers in helping students become active citizens taking part in the democractic debate. A July 2014 policy statement had enhanced notably the will of the new government to increase use of digital formats in the programmes of press reading in schools. The action by JFB, is based on the access to the digital press as well as also on specific educational material to familiarize teachers and students with the new media environment (new content, new formats, new skills, new jobs, new questions...)


JFB (es Journaux Francophones Belges) started experimenting with “Press in School” programmes in 1994, later developing materials for the francophone region of Belgium with the Media Education Council, the journalists association (AJP) and other organizations.

JFB launched the Ouvrir Mon Quotidien (Open My Daily) programme in 2002.  It is a Newspapers in Education (NIE) programme that provides up to six different newspapers to schools through the support of the Ministry of the French-speaking Community.  However, not only does JFB help to provide newspapers subscriptions to the schools but also supplies student and teacher supplements designed to work with the papers in a classroom setting.

JFB has two different versions of the Open My Daily programme based on the age of the students.  For primary school students, they send all six papers to the schools for two weeks, where after, each class will choose two of the papers to subscribe to for the entire school year.  In addition to the daily papers to every class, each student and teacher receives their respective newspaper guidebooks that will be used throughout the year. 

Fully launched in 2005, the programme for secondary schools is slightly different.  The two-week trial period is the same, but then rather than picking two newspapers, the schools will continue to receive all six papers.  The number of papers a school receives depends on its size; the bigger the school, the more copies they receive; however each student and teacher will still receive individual newspaper guidebooks. 

Over 70% of schools that have trial subscriptions sent to them participate and sign on for the full year.  The schools are from several different provinces and the coverage across each province is very strong and fairly equal, showing that it is not only certain areas that see the benefits of this programme. 

Parallel to the NIE programme, JFB is also partnerhing with an initiative organized by l’Association des Journalistes Professionnels (AJP), called Journalistes en Classe.  AJP works with schools to send journalists, both in written press and audiovisual, to classes where they present to the students what their job entails.  This allows students to learn from firsthand experiences what journalists do in today’s media.

The Belgian association is a member of WAN-IFRA's Young Reader Committee and has long supported WAN-IFRA's international outreach to help publishers and educators work together in emerging democracies, especially in Francophone Africa and most recently in Jordan. On the European level, JFB has been instrumental in promoting media literacy in cooperation with the European Newspaper Publishers Association.


Aralynn McMane's picture

Aralynn McMane


2014-10-02 11:30

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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 ...