World Association of News Publishers



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INTRODUCING THE REPORT SERIES: Why publishers are -- or should be -- engaged in news literacy, and what will come in seven installments.


(NOTE: Throughout the report, * denotes a WAN-IFRA Center of Youth Engagement Excellence and ** a winner of the WAN-IFRA World Young Reader Prize)

To help it consider strategic initiatives in news literacy and other news in education work that involves - or could involve - news publishers, the American Press Institute asked WAN-IFRA's Youth Engagement and News Literacy division to investigate good practice outside the United States.

This report is the result of that inquiry and concentrates on work involving primary and secondary students, with some attention to the youngest adults up to age 25 (WAN-IFRA's definition of "youth"). In addition, there is a database of 130 cases of news literacy actions around the world done by or that could be of interest to news publishers. Installments were released between March and May 2017.

“News literacy” is the subset of what UNESCO calls “media and information literacy” that focuses on the content produced by journalistic reporting and how it differs from other content. A unique strength of news literacy comes from its originators – journalists – with the resulting natural emphasis on curiosity about how the world works and an informed questioning of all information. (More about the origins of news literacy HERE.)

As Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron told an audience at the 2016 MediaXchange,   "Journalism means we get to the bottom of a story. Content is picking up an iPhone and taking a picture...anybody can do that."

An understanding of how real, ethical, professional journalism works, the dangers to some of those who do it, and its purpose in encouraging democracy must come at the very start of any news literacy activity.

This understanding should precede the classic deconstruction of news messages or there is a high risk of creating a generation of cynics who are contemptuous of journalism at the outset as they protects themselves from fake news, alternative facts or whatever new variation emerges.

News publishers need to be involved in this work. The good news is that they already are.

The seven installments of this report concentrate on news literacy-related actions on the local, regional and national level that publishers have helped to do or could do. All actions aim to help create an audience for professionally produced journalism, of course, but more importantly they aim to create a new generation that is literate, civic-minded, media-savvy and capable of navigating all kinds of content.

Parts 1 through 6 also offer some outstanding U.S. examples after the assigned emphasis on non-U.S. practice and also some free WAN-IFRA resources to get publishers started in doing something similar. In addition, the report includes initiatives by other kinds of organisations that offer useful models publishers could adapt to their own countries. Finally, Part 7 describes the approach in one country where expression is far from free that can nonetheless serve as a model for inventing the future most anywhere. Each part contains several videos (28 in all), mostly about either winners of the WAN-IFRA World Young Reader Prize or one of 16 Centers of Youth Engagement Excellence.


#1. GUIDING IN DIGITAL SPACE: Focusing efforts - and leading - on the platforms young people are already using.

News publishers are key players in helping to teach the news literacy skills for navigating all kinds of content. Smart news publishers are linking existing digital behaviour by young people to their journalism and to other paths of engagement. In the process, they are learning themselves about social media use and the potential of new kinds of connections and participation. Perhaps even more importantly, some local publishers have become leaders in introducing young people to the potential and limits of each new platform.

THE VIDEOS (Videos not in English are subtitled.)

Plots And Conspiracies - Learning to tell a real conspiracy from a false one. (France)

Tablet Class - How a news publisher introduced teenagers to smart digital news consumption. (Germany)

Children’s news participation app – Swedish national televsion interacts with the audience of its children’s news show.

Social media stars as news anchors – Finland’s Ilta Sanomat showcases newscasting talents of young people with huge online audiences.

#2. TEACHING ABOUT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Developing an understanding of the link between freedom of expression and of the press.  

Without learning how press freedom is allied with freedom of expression, it’s easy to dismiss news media as simply getting unwarranted special treatment.  Examples here include initiatives explaining press freedom that feature some fun and explanations tailored to the life stages of young people about the dangers involved.

THE VIDEOS (Videos not in English are subtitled.)

WAN-IFRA Press Freedom Animation – Overview of the link between freedom of expression and of the press and the high price some journalists pay to defend both. (France). Links also to a version with Arabic typography.

Freedom of Expression in the Netherlands – Backgrounder for Nieuws in de Klas Road Show project. (The Netherlands). In Dutch.

What is Freedom of Expression? – Edition of the Milan Presse-France Télévisions “Un Jour, Une Question”[1 Day, 1 Question] explanatory, 1-minute animations.

Press Uncuffed – USA university students talk about the class that has them learn the stories of persecuted journalists and inspires them to take action.

#3. CREATING WAYS TO TRY JOURNALISM: Providing experiences that help young people explore newsmaking themselves 

One of the best ways to understand and appreciate the work of the journalistic enterprise is to realise that the gathering and dissemination of news is not so easy. Initiatives that expose young people to the work of news come in a wide variety: from highly elaborate to very simple, all providing a solid dose of fun.

THE VIDEOS (Videos not in English are subtitled.)

#juniorlab – Polska Press program teaches multimedia journalism and gives prizes for learning lessons well. (Poland).

The Guardian News & Media Education Centre – This laboratory helps students, teachers and families learn about the news by doing it. (United Kingdom).

Journalist d’un Jour [Journalist for a Day] – The regional publisher l’Alsace has run this massive annual program for more than two decades. (France).

Media Lab – Two news publishers give students, families, and even seniors the chance to learn about the news by doing it. (Portugal).

Museo de los Niños – Clarin’s three part news experience for children at the Buenos Aires children’s museum has been a hit for 15 years. (Argentina).

#Tambora Challenge – Kompas Daily challenged teenagers to an outdoor, Instagram journalistic challenge. (Indonesia).

#4.  PROMOTING ENCOUNTERS WITH JOURNALISTS: Face-to-face experiences that benefit both young people and journalists. 

Good guides and examples exist for how a journalist can engage students without being boring or preachy. News-related initiatives can help news publishing staff - editors marketers, etc. - learn about who young people really are, getting past the mythology. For example, WAN-IFRA took inspiration from several projects to launch recently the World Teenage News Takeover initiative that calls for editors to give control of some part of their normal daily content to some group of teenagers at least once in November of each year.

THE VIDEOS (Videos not in English are subtitled.)

Teenage News Takeover – Schwäbische Zeitung took on the WAN-IFRA challenge to turn control over the news to a group of adolescents. (Germany).

News Decoder – This non-profit provides news and the chance for rich international interaction (France).

Checkology ™ – The News Literacy Project has created a virtual classroom that augments the work of 400+ journalists who visit classes (USA).

#5. HELPING THE INFLUENCERS: Actions that add value for both parents and teachers.

Any effort for teachers must add value, not an additional burden, and parents need help guiding, or even keeping up with, the multifaceted media use of their offspring.

THE VIDEOS (Videos not in English are subtitled.)

48 Values Guide – The Straits Times guide for using the news to teach core character values was for teachers, but parents demanded it, too (Singapore).

WeMedia24 – Media 24 has added a slick digital news component to its its huge school newspaper programme. (South Africa).

What is Fake News? – PlayBac’s new set of explainer videos features some news literacy basics (USA).

#6. EXPLORING THE NEW NEWS FOR KIDS: A new breed of special content for children and teenagers. 

News targeting children has changed. Print editions have a new, and profitable, shine and digital offerings finally make practical sense. The reporting handles deftly the horrific news children and teenagers cannot escape, and notions of solutions and constructive journalism are simply part of the normal work pattern. However, these editionss do not escape the issue of sponsored content.

THE VIDEOS (Videos not in English are subtitled.)

GiveMeFive – Bayard Press offers teenagers five top news stories at 5 p.m. (17h), all with video. (France)

News-o-matic – some of the more than 1000 interactions that this  Press4Kids digital news service garners daily from its audience (USA).

NewsKid – This Spain-based start up aims to mix print, augmented reality and virtual reality.

The Week Junior – This spinoff of a weekly newsmagazine is breaking business records (United Kingdom).

Crinkling News –  Channel 10 television news interviewed editor Saffron Howden (Australia).

“We will answer that” – The New York Times interviewd François Dufour, editor of PlayBac Press about how his three dailies for children covered the horror of terrorist killings (France).

#7. CREATING THE FUTURE: Consider this example.

The top winner in the 2016 World Young Reader Prize competition, The Star of Malaysia’s R.AGE youth initiative, offers an example of a structure that creates an ongoing view toward the future, whatever that may bring.

THE VIDEOS (Videos not in English are subtitled.)

Beyond Clickbait – An overview of the actions that won The Star R.AGE team the top WAN-IFRA World Young Reader Prize award in 2016. (Malaysia) Subtitled

The World Young Reader Prize 2016 – What winning the prize meant to the team.



More than 100 ideas to try based on what news publishers or other inspiring organizations have done in more than 40 countries in a searchable, sortable database.

The lead author of this report is Dr. Aralynn McMane (France), WAN-IFRA executive director for news literacy and youth engagement at the time of the report, assisted by Wendy Tribaldos (Panama) a member of the then WAN-IFRA global committee on youth and news media. Thanks also to Nolwazi Mjwara for her volunteer design and editing assistance.

The American Press Institute (API), based in the United States, conducts research, training, convenes thought leaders and creates tools to help chart a path ahead for journalism in the 21st century. API is an educational non-advocacy nonprofit organization affiliated with the News Media Alliance, formerly the Newspaper Association of America. It aims to help the news media, especially local publishers and newspaper media, advance in the digital age. The organization has long supported the work of News in Education programs and also efforts around news literacy. Some of its research relates directly to those in the youth and media space, e.g. the news behaviors of the latest generation of young adults, Millenials. Other research deals with issues that cut across age groups, e.g. what makes people trust and rely on news.


WAN-IFRA, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers represents more than 30,000 online and print news operations, over 3,000 companies and national and regional associations serving news publishers in more than 120 countries.  Its core mission remains the same since its founding in 1948 by survivors of the World War II clandestine press of France and the Netherlands: to defend and promote the development and survival of a free press, quality journalism and editorial integrity worldwide. It has global headquarters in Paris, France, and Frankfurt, Germany, and subsidiaries for Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.




Aralynn McMane's picture

Aralynn McMane


2017-02-20 16:33

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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 ...