World Association of News Publishers



Article ID:



This is the fifth installment of our report series about news literacy initiatives around the world (outside the United States) that have been created by or could involve news publishers. It was commissioned by the American Press Institute. Lead author is Aralynn McMane.


#5 HELP THE INFLUENCERS: Build actions that add value for both parents and teachers.

5. Build programs for influencers – parents and teachers – that add value, not burden.

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


"I am very much standing in the middle between my parents and my children when it comes to technology," the writer Allison Slater Tate observed in The Washington Post, "one foot dipped in the waters of Instagram and Twitter and the other still stuck in the luddite mud of 'In my day, we passed paper notes in class, sent real letters to penpals, and talked to each other’s faces!' "

She is far from alone as parents and teachers worldwide face being a generation that has no advantage over their children and pupils about how current media channels really work or what will be their ultimate impact on daily life.

This situation offers an opportunity for news publishers to help, and some have done so with very creative actions that add value for teachers and parents in ways that don’t simply add another burden.


Parents are getting special help from the world of journalism as they try to help their children better navigate news and other information.

One of the newest initiatives supporting parents comes from PlayBac,** the French news for youth publisher. Two new apps, Mon Quotidien Video in French and Clarify in English), provide videos that explain the  news and how it is made in a quirky animation style with questions to spark discussion. The 2- to 3-minute segments are designed for parents to view with their 10- to 14-year-old children. Both versions call for a paid subscription.

“The videos will never cover sensationalized or scary breaking news,” explains François Dufour. This is a slight departure for the company, which prides itself on careful reporting of “scary breaking news” in its three age-targeted dailies for children. [More about PlayBac’s news for children in Part 6, Explore the new news for kids]. This does not mean these apps ignore controversial subjects. Recent videos covered the proposed U.S. ban on entry for citizens of some countries and the claim by then candidate Donald Trump that he had been endorsed by the Pope. “The purpose is to clarify,” DuFour says. Besides the background about news events, the videos also offer some news literacy lessons, such as the one here explaining fake news. [Video 00:01:53]

Another similar initiative from France Télévisions and Milan Press, Un Jour, Une Question [One Day, One Question], provides explanatory 90-second animations for a younger audience covering a wide range of topics, including terrorism.  [See Part 2, Teach about Freedom of Expression, for more detail and an example with English subtitles that explains freedom of expression.]

Another similar initiative from France Télévisions and Milan Press, Un Jour, Une Question [One Day, One Question], provides explanatory 90-second animations for a younger audience covering a wide range of topics, including terrorism.  [See Part 2, Teach about Freedom of Expression, for more detail and an example with English subtitles that explains freedom of expression.]

An older but enduring approach emerged in Argentina. The education ministry and leading news publisher Clarin**  teamed up to create guides covering use of television and  internet in the family. The core idea for each guide was to set up a family code of conduct. Each guide was inserted into a Sunday edition with the publisher donating extra copies to go to poor schools. The originator of the idea was the ministry’s media education director, Roxana Morduchowicz, who then donated the material for the internet guide to WAN-IFRA for use worldwide. (See details under WAN-IFRA RECOMMENDS at the end of this part of the report for how to get the materials in five languages.) [Video 00:01:31]

“It was a win-win for both education and the publisher,” Morduchowicz said. “For the Ministry of Education, it was an excellent way to reach families and parents regarding a subject of social interest: the safe use of the Internet. For the newspaper it meant an association with the Ministry of Education and the legitimation of the guide in the schools. It represented also an increase of its circulation that Sunday and also an institutional initiative very much valued by the whole community.”

Clarin got sponsorship from a telecommunications and an oil company for the project, with WAN-IFRA’s version supported by Norske Skog paper producer as part of a 10-year partnership.

The Guardian News and Media Education Centre (UK) puts families to work together during school holidays at news production workshops. The two-hour sessions call for parent-child teams to create a front page out of that day’s news on a tight deadline and is usually fully booked very early. As in all such workshops, the news literacy skills around checking information provides a core element. “The [participants] have to research and write stories so we talk about using a range of sources and verifying them,” explains Margaret Holborn, the head of the facility. “We also talk about this in the sub-editing process in terms of checking facts, sources, and quotes.” The activity also helps families understand the journalistic process. “We enjoyed it and experienced a little I think of the various pressures of newspaper journalists working to extremely tight deadlines,” one parent commented. [Families get to meet political cartoonists at the Center’s Cartoon Art and Family Day, described in Part 4, Promote encounters with journalists.]

Another intergenerational idea from a Slovakian university could serve as a basis for a news publisher variation.

According to the The Evens Foundation report on the role of parents in media literacy,  the University of Ss. Syril and Methodius in Trnava invited teams of a grandparent with one of their grandchildren to spend a day exploring old and new communications technologies together. These Senior-Junior teams worked together to answer quiz questions about both old and new media, make a digital version of the recipe for a favorite dish, organize and place a dozen communications tools from the last century on a physical timeline, identify the sounds of various media technologies write and read and edit news in a television studio, take a selfie (the senior partner) and load film into a camera (the junior partner). Separately, each person was interviewed to “confess” the appreciation they had for their grandparent or grandchild, with the result shown at the end of the day.


Meanwhile, The Straits Times** in Singapore has been working with parents and teachers for more than a decade in its wide-ranging schools initiative. Elements include weekly student newspapers that offer bite-sized learning activities, national spelling and current affairs competitions, workshops to help parents impart critical reading skills, and dedicated issues and books that offer exam prep drawing on news content

"We know teachers and parents are very, very busy,” says Fiona Chan, managing editor of The Straits Times and head of The Straits Times Schools. “What they need are easy and exciting ways to infuse the dynamic, real-life content from newspapers into their everyday lessons in their classrooms and conversations at home.”

She makes clear that the effort should not be about developing “vanity” products: “We talk to teachers frequently to find out more about their needs and pain points in the classroom, and come up with solutions that will address them.”

One recent resource addressed a national mandate to teach values in class. Inspired by U.S. activities around character, The Straits Times developed a guide for using the news to teach about 48 values. With WAN-IFRA’s help, Jakarta Post** and KOMPAS** in Indonesia jointly created still another version, Newsworthy Characters, adding freedom of expression. [Video about the Straits Times 48 Values project 00:01:00]

Most recently,  KOMPAS has offered digital versions of the student newspapers to allow teachers to more easily clip, save and access archived content, and to project it in the classroom.

France’s largest news publisher, Ouest-France, is also helping teachers in new ways. It has developed l’actu en classe [news in class] to support teachers who are coping with a massive new national digital education and media education mandate.

The paid online service offers curated news and an array of easy-to-find background for both primary and secondary schools.

“We realized we needed to do a better job of helping teachers explain breaking news,” said Jeanne-Emmanuel Hutin, Ouest-France director of editorial research. “The issue really hit home when our printed youth edition that came out the day after horrific attacks in Paris in November 2015 [on a page that had closed earlier] offered nothing to help children deal with the news of those attacks.” [Video in French 00:01:09]

Subscribing schools (€900 per year for a school of 450 students) get updated local, national and worldwide news, plus access to the previous month’s content of the publisher’s 53 editions and more than 100 years of archives. Tough news about rapes, murders, etc. is filtered out. Each month, a special je découvre [I discover] feature provides news-linked background and quizzes around a school topic, such as current news about migrants to evoke the great migrations throughout history. The background offers additional stories, videos, animated graphics, and quizzes. Since the October launch, 14 secondary schools and 3 primary schools have signed up with 21 more contracted for the next school year. 


The new French educational mandate also inspired the news literacy arm of the country’s regional press association, ARPEJ,* to help educators in a new way. Five regional publishers agreed to invite trainee local and district school directors to spend 3 to 5 days in intensive on-site internships. Interns met with the main company executives from several departments, spent time on the job with reporters and then explored next steps in innovation and media literacy together with news staff. The roughly 30 interns were very pleased with the process, according to Etienne Millien of Sud Ouest, ARPEJ general manager.

Intern Magali Domicile explained some of the why. “Journalists and teachers need to confront their ideas in terms of media education,” she said. “We need [journalists’] help to make sure we identify the key elements to pass on to our students.”

For ARPEJ and WAN-IFRA’s Centers of Youth Engagement Excellence in 15 other countries, helping teachers is part of the daily routine. Indeed, it is because of this work that those national media associations earned the designation. Several are mentioned throughout this report, notably Finland’s work in Guiding in digital space (Part 1). Background about all of the Centers  can be found here.


Both individually and as a group, news publishers go further than the occasional intervention. For decades, they have created serious, accredited training for teachers about news and are transforming that work to focus on the conquest of digital space. That accredited exploration has been both face to face and in the form of an online course.  For example,  Gazeta Do Povo** in Brazil offers 13 online news in education courses open to teachers during the school that are each 160 hours long and certified by universities.

In several countries media associations have lobbied successfully to build news literacy lessons, including how to use the newspaper in the class, in teacher training and in some places even into the national curriculum (notably Belgium, South Africa, Finland, and Serbia). WAN-IFRA itself has helped open the doors to cooperation with education ministries as it assisted associations and other groups of news publishers in developing their national programs (Austria, Belgium, Ghana, Jordan, etc.)  


One of the most spectacular news publisher initiatives to help teachers is the School 2.0 project led by a publisher aiming to change the face of Poland's schools. The editors of Gazeta Wyborcza, the country's largest quality daily, and a paper with an activist tradition, decided to explore how schools were managing the challenges of digital media, and then to help.

First, 25 reporters, including the two at right, were sent back to their primary or secondary schools for a week to talk with teachers, students and parents and blog about it. The publisher then organized a nationwide discussion, did a poll of 2081 students about how they used internet, and published more than 200 articles about the issue.

“We found a big difference between what official programmes were supposedly doing, and the classroom reality where teachers were left to fend for themselves in setting guidelines for using Wikipedia, mobile telephones and such,” said Grzegorz Piechota, then head of public awareness and social campaigns.

The survey found that 7 in 10 students used Internet when doing their homework, with the homework of more than 4 in 10 fully based upon online information. “Nobody has taught them how to use this information critically, how to evaluate and compare sources,” Piechota noted. And when reporters talked to teachers, “they so often seemed to be helpless or overwhelmed by the speed and variety of changes in the society.”

Within one year:

• The publisher hosted meetings among experts who had never before worked together, such as older academics and younger internet entrepreneurs, experts from several government departments, and from various countries who had tried “laptop for all” programs, an option the government wanted to explore.

• 300 schools (1200 teachers and more than 24000 students) signed up to run projects, get access to online and print resources and interact with experts as models for the rest of the country

• The publisher created a guide for teachers about how to include free and simple online tools in education, from blogging and Wikipedia to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It is available in bookstores, with a 50-page summary sent to 10, 000 Polish teachers.

Soon, the project attracted financial support of big digital companies, including Google, Huawei, Intel, Orange and Samsung. Now it is fully funded by non-profits and focuses  on facilitating projects at schools and self-help among teachers. Government and commercial support ended as Gazeta Wyborcza, its non-profit partner CEO and the program’s ideals were not supported by current educational policies.

The project follows the company's strategic approach, which includes:

1. Building bridges across generations. The publisher prides itself on avoiding ghettos for youth, trying instead to engage them in the regular news and its campaigns. The print edition has one of the youngest readerships of Polish newspapers with 53% of younger than 40 and almost every fifth young Pole aged 15-29 reading it at least once a week.

2. Emphasizing education. The paper has long supported educational reforms and provided free newspapers and guidance for using them in class."Many teachers are our readers," Piechota said. “As we know and trust each other, there is just a small step to do something together again.”


Publishers elsewhere have committed to projects that are only slightly less ambitious.

Since 1995, Media24 has helped teachers assist more than 40,000 young South Africans in getting the experience of working on a school newspaper. Since April 2015, it has run the digital WeCan24 News Network that also features free on-site training of both teachers and students (more than 2900 learners and 1000 teachers so far) by news industry volunteers across the country. [Video about WeCan24 00:01:19]

From 30 to 120 teachers and students attend each one of the the sessions, which are held on non-school days or after school.

"We know teachers really appreciate our help," says Adrie Jurgensen, Media24 Group Manager for Corporate Social Investment. "From private to public school they really love the simplicity and the endless possibilities within the programme. In fact, we simply can't keep up with the demand for training sessions -- though it is a lovely problem to have -- and in our existing sessions, teachers are always bringing more colleagues along."

The work doesn't stop with journalism training: Media24 volunteers also repair and refurbish school facilities.

Established in 2011, Welad ElBalad is a pioneering Egyptian hyper-local media company that targets the country’s young audience (over 40% are under age 24). It runs 11 local newsrooms employing 120 journalists across the country, producing print editions, a website comprising 14 sub-domains, and relevant social media platforms including a partnership with YouTube running a network of 8 local video channels.

In early 2015, at the request of local offices of the Ministry of Education, the company's training arm, Local Media Factory, provided media literacy training to teachers and students (over 50 trainees) via advertising on Facebook (pictured at right).

“Young people in Egypt not only comprise a large section of the population but are increasingly hooked up to media and as part of our public service mandate we consider it key to support better understanding and use of media to emerging audiences,” said Fatemah Farag, Welad ElBalad CEO.

In sessions, they learned to think critically about the information they were using or reading as well as the uses of various social media platforms and their mobile phones. Teachers were also given basics of news report writing, social media networking and ethics training.

“The proof of how needed this is was in the reaction of the young people themselves who are keen on learning how to become a part of the world via media,” said Yaser Mohamed, an Arabic-language teacher in Fayoum.

The Guardian Media and News Education Center (UK) also includes teachers in its wide-ranging program serving students and families. It runs an "Insight into Journalism" conference series so 15 teachers of English, media or computer science can explore how news is produced and how digital development has expanded the possibilities. The charge is 96£, which is most often paid through a school's training budget for teacher professional development. 

The teachers attend the daily news conference and meet with a wide array of other staff (from digital development, communities, and research and audience departments), then spend an afternoon in the Education Centre building an interactive news quiz using that day’s content.

At least some of the success comes from the attitude of the staff. "Everyone seems so generous with their time and enthusiastic about what they are doing," one teacher wrote in an online evaluation. "One can’t help coming away with reinvigorated passion to do one’s own job better than ever."


Finally, it is useful to remember that the content of news – as is – continues to help teachers in important ways. In 2006, WAN-IFRA helped Jordan’s Center for Defending the Freedom of Journalists partner with three main news publishers, a telcom and the education ministry to set up a national news in education program that by 2011 served up to 6000 classrooms. Students used print and digital news to study all kinds of topics, including news itself. The video in this section describes that work. Now, key teachers are continuing and evolving the activity to concentrate on media literacy in general. [Video 00:07:45 in Arabic with English subtitles]

This brief account from an Argentine education expert Roxana Morduchowicz after a mission for WAN-IFRA in Burkina Faso does a good job of explaining the continued relevance of using a news story as a starting point for other education:

I arrived in Burkina Faso. I visited a school in Ouagadougou, its capital. I looked at the building. It was hard to believe teachers and students worked here for several hours every day. Classrooms without windows, buildings without toilets, rooms without electricity most of the day. The teacher waited for me in her classroom, with her 80 students, of many ages. There are not enough notebooks for everyone. Several children use small blackboards. I see thirty newspapers on the teacher's desk, which they get for free once a week.

Thousands of questions came to my mind: what could a News in Education (NIE) program do in this context? Does it make any sense to think about newspapers in a school that lacked of electricity, toilets, windows, notebooks...?

In this Liberian classroom, newspapers were the only printed material for learning.In this Liberian classroom, newspapers were the only printed material for learning.I entered the classroom. I observed the class. The lesson was based on a story about girls' right to education. The children had already read the news. They had also interviewed a lawyer and a representative from a human rights organization. The teacher brought them the United Nations declaration on women's rights and shared its content with them. After they discussed the information they gathered, and analyzed the way it was represented in the media, the whole class started to plan a small campaign for the school neighborhood, on the girls' right to education. Some of them got the task to write a letter to the editor for the local newspaper.

I suddenly found the answers to my initial questions. I discovered the social meaning of the NIE program. News in Education is education for democracy. The newspaper information had been the object of study for the children in Burkina Faso. They read it, discussed it, analyzed it and acted. Information was essential for them. Information meant power. They had the power to understand, to interpret, and, even more important, to make decisions; to create a democratic culture.

The local newspaper had provided free copies of the newspaper to the school in this pilot project in a pattern of partnership that has been repeated elsewhere on the continent (often providing unsold copies instead of recycling them). For publishers, NIE offers an early link to young people. For teachers, NIE offers an excellent resource to help teach democracy.


Teachers worldwide who have taught basic news in education skills are also potential leaders in teaching news literacy in digital space because they already know part of the basic story. Such new activity can be possible partly because core lessons and resources to help teachers explain the basic newsgathering process have long been part of the original newspapers in education programmes around the world. Those school-publisher partnerships originated in the United States and now exist in more than 60 countries providing a ready-made cadre of teachers who have done this work as well as coordinators at individual publishing operations and at state press/media associations. Thus there is a there is a worldwide corps of people ready to learn new ways to assure a literate, media-savvy new generation of citizens. All they need is new guidance and relevant, easy-to-adapt tools.


Some related resources for teachers are in this same section of Part 1, Guide in digital space. WAN-IFRA also created two free resources that publishers can enhance with digital tie-ins, forums, etc. to help families with news literacy skills, and recommends a third resource that explains the journalism that is based on drawings.

INTERNET IN THE FAMILY: A GUIDE TO HELPING CHILDREN WHEN THEY GO ONLINE  - is based on an Argentine resource and focuses on setting family codes of conduct for going online. It is available multiple languages. Content offers advice to parents about how to help children learn to search online, how to determine the credibility of information, why students shouldn't 'copy and paste' Internet material into their own schoolwork, how to avoid the dangers posed by undesirable sites offering pornography and worse, and how to conduct themselves on social networks and blogs.

“The goal is to cover the main risks associated with using new technologies and offer strategies for reducing those risks, without ‘demonizing’ the digital space,” says the author Roxana Morduchowicz of Argentina.

The guide, run as a printed insert or series, is designed to help the newspaper become a media literacy ally of teachers and parents. The guide can also attract non-traditional partners to help with the finances to produce it.

Most importantly, it contains a model "Family Code" for online behavior and offers 10 recommendations for adults. Materials to create a family internet guide in English, Portuguese, French or German are available HERE.

PARENTS, CHILDREN AND THE NEWS offers 15 ways parents can start talking about the news with their offspring at various life stages (young children, primary school children, pre-and early teenagers and young adults). This guide also includes advice for talking about horrific events. It was edited by a South African and is based on U.S. and French experience. The guide is intended as a hand-out.The parental guide can be downloaded  HERE. WAN-IFRA asks for some information about you to be able to send any updates that emerge.

GRAPHIC JOURNALISM GUIDEis not a WAN-IFRA resource, but we highly recommend it.To explain the journalism that uses cartoons to tell a complete news story, graphic reporter and editor Eva Hilhorst of the Netherlands has created a visual guide that can start both a conversation and an activity for students of many ages.



This report was commissioned to examine news literacy by news publishers outisde the United States, but we feel we would be remiss if we did not include a some notable U.S. initiatives.

Cases from other parts of this report offer good examples of U.S. initiatives that support the influencers:

> The New York Times Learning Network, Part 1, Guide in digital space.

> NewseumED, Part 1, Guide in digital space and Part 2, Teach about Freedom of Expression

> News Literacy Project, Part 4, Promote encounters with journalists

In addition, in addition to many individual news publishers, some state news publisher associations in the U.S. are active in supporting teachers in their news literacy work. For example:



Aralynn McMane's picture

Aralynn McMane


2017-03-13 11:32

Author information

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 ...