National news literacy experts will be coming together July 24 and 25 at the Reynolds Journalism Institute with educators and newsroom leaders to help the public make more informed choices about media consumption.

During the two-day workshop in Columbia, Missouri, representatives from organizations including the News Literacy Project and iCivics will share current research and news literacy programs. This will also include sharing resources and tools to help readers find credible news and information.

The workshop will also provide hands-on sessions to give educators an opportunity to test literacy tools and provide feedback.

“I hope this is just the beginning of a continuing and widening conversation,” says Kathy Kiely, event organizer and Lee Hills Chair in Free Press Studies at the Missouri School of Journalism. “Guaranteeing a future for journalism, and the democracy that depends on it, requires giving members of the public the tools they need to figure out what is news and what is not.”

The event builds on two 2018-19 RJI Fellowships that promoted news literacy

RJI Fellow Nico Gendron, who will speak at the event, helped a group of high schoolers from mid-Missouri see themselves in news and see the value of news by having them each publish a story in the local newspaper. She also surveyed them about their news consumption habits.

Fellow Kelly Whitney, chief product and partnerships officer with iCivics, developed classroom tools to help high school students find reliable, journalistically sound information when conducting online research.  Jill Villasana, a Columbia high school teacher, who uses the organization’s innovative games in her classroom, will demo one of the iCivics' games. 

The event, underwritten by the Lee Hills Chair in Free Press Studies, is open and free to the public. However, those who plan to attend are asked to RSVP.

If you are unable to make it to the event, the Wednesday sessions will be livestreamed on RJI’s Facebook account.


Wednesday, July 24

Event kicks off in the Fred W. Smith Forum.

12:30 p.m.

Doors open

Smith Forum, 200 RJI

1–3:15 p.m.

Lightning talks from news literacy experts

Smith Forum, 200 RJI

3:30–5 p.m.

Panel discussion with experts taking questions from the audience

Smith Forum, 200 RJI

Thursday, July 25

8 a.m.

Meet in Smith Forum for coffee and room assignments

Smith Forum, 200 RJI

8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Hands-on training


The News Literacy Project, iCivics, IREX and Amy Simons, associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, offer training in classrooms throughout RJI. The training sessions will last approximately 45 minutes each, and attendees will be given schedules that allow everyone to sample each program.

12:30–1 p.m.

Wrap-up session

Smith Forum, 200 RJI

A review of lessons learned and discussion of next steps.


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