March: NIE Week and Local Journalism

Teachers and parents, Newspaper in Education Week is March 3-7, 2014.


Every year, NIE Week presents newspapers with opportunities to serve teachers, parents and young readers in their communities. Teaching guides have encouraged a focus on informational text, current and relevant to the community served by the newspaper. For teachers, parents and young readers, New York’s Mary Miller and I prepared a 2014 guide that focuses on newspapers and other media that young readers use. To find a pdf version of the guide, click here: Read, Write, Speak, Listen, View and Learn (pdf). For a fillable/editable version of the guide, click here: Read, Write, Listen, Speak, View and Learn (fillable, editable). For more information about the guide, click here: About the Guide/ Alignment with the Common Core. About the Guide includes the following and additional directions for using the guides with technology available (or not) in homes and classrooms: “Teachers with interactive white boards will be able to apply white board technology to the PDF version, allowing students and teachers to mark up a copy projected at the front of the class….When you use the fillable version of the guide, do what the fillable/editable allows and figure out ways to discuss choices that the fillable/editable does not allow you to write down or mark in that version.”


The reading association in Indiana was the first to celebrate NIE Week in 1983.  Since NIE Week was established, teachers and parents have focused on learning with and about local news and information. Newspapers have taken different approaches. You’ll find those discussed here: /march-brings-nie-week-and-more/. Contact local and area newspapers to find out more about their plans for NIE Week and/or offer support and ideas. In keeping with the Common Core State Standards, each day, teachers and parents may celebrate NIE Week by simply choosing a news story to read closely for meaning and to identify words for students or children to add to their spoken and written vocabularies.


During NIE Week, teachers and parents may choose to address questions about newspapers and journalism as sources of news and information. Local journalists, editors and/or reporters, may discuss how and why they do their jobs. For commentary on the contributions made by local journalists, read the following: Editorialist for The Pilot in Southern Pines, Steve Bouser offers this response: Bouser references a commentary, published earlier, that credits local journalists:
On February 3, 2014, Paul Barrett published a story online, through Bloomberg’s Business Week, that underscores points made in other stories about local journalism. Barrett’s headline offers, “Why We Need Shoe-Leather Local Reporters,” and he opens with the following paragraph:  “Buckle up for a lecture about the civic virtues of old-fashioned journalism. This is a business story for the media industry. It’s also a concern of the first order for society at large. We are losing a vital resource as local reporters fade from the scene.”
The American Press Institute’s Executive Director, Tom Rosenthiel, outlines ways to judge whether news and information can be trusted. Rosenthiel raises issues that are also raised in the Common Core. Rosenthiel calls on all citizens to ask the following questions:
  1. What kind of information is this? (TYPE)
  2. Who and what are the sources of information and why should I believe them? (SOURCE)
  3. What’s the evidence and how was it vetted? (EVIDENCE)
  4. Is the main point of the piece proven by the evidence? (INTERPRETATION)
  5. What’s missing? (COMPLETENESS)
  6. Am I learning every day what I need? (KNOWLEDGE)
How citizens find out what’s happening and why that’s important are reasons for teachers, parents and readers, young and old, to pick up their local newspapers, read closely, raise questions and celebrate NIE Week.

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Prepared on February 5, 2014.