Industry News

Apple Supporting Digital Literacy Nonprofits

Apple intends to support three major media literacy nonprofits in their work to help young people develop critical thinking skills. The News Literacy Project and Common Sense in the United States and Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori in Italy will each get help from Apple in advancing their missions.

Apple hasn't publicly released information about the extent or form of its support. However, some portion of it is financial. A statement from News Literacy's Founder and CEO, Alan Miller, noted that the investment from Apple, "represents the largest corporate contribution in our history." He said, "We are deeply grateful for the company's commitment to fighting misinformation and sustaining quality journalism."

Through the initiative, the News Literacy Project will receive both a "significant contribution" as well as "ongoing support" from the technology company. Miller stated that the donation would enable his organization "to scale up our programs and resources." Those include Checkology, online lessons to help students learn how to evaluate and interpret news and choose what sources of information to trust and share; The Sift, a free weekly newsletter for educators that provides them with "teachable moments in news literacy"; and the planned Newsroom to Classroom program, which will connect working journalists with educators in a premium version of Checkology, expected to launch later this year.

Common Sense, which focuses on helping families and educators cope in a digital media world, has developed free Digital Citizenship Curriculum for K-12 to help students develop critical thinking, safe behavior and responsible participation in online media. The nonprofit also supports teachers with training and recognition through digital badging. A new News Literacy project is intended to provide timely content and resources for parents, educators and teens.

"The lack of young people's news literacy skills is a growing problem for our country. Revelations about the manipulation of news and the resulting impact on society have shed light on both the importance and scale of the issue," said James Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense. "We need to help our students not just seek out legitimate news, but also think critically about the broader world of media and ideas."

The Italian organization delivers citizenship education focused on media literacy projects. Osservatorio trains high school teachers, who then bring its media literacy projects into their classrooms. As students compare different news sources, they learn to distinguish between reliable journalism and fake news. "At a time when fake news is spreading, we cannot give in to the idea that third-party fact-checking services are the only way to assess the reliability of news sources. We can exercise our own minds, and be masters of our own destiny," said Andrea Ceccherini, founder and CEO of the organization. "Our ambition is to help form more citizens, increasingly opening our society to a culture of civilized debate and confrontation, which is the basis of every healthy democracy."

"News literacy is vital to sustaining a free press and thriving democracy, and we are proud to be collaborating with organizations on the front lines of this effort," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, in a statement, adding that each organization is doing "important work" in "empowering young people to be active and engaged citizens."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.