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College Launches Blog to Foster Discussion on News Literacy, the Decline of Newspapers and Rise of New Media

A blog written by journalists to promote news literacy launched July 8 through the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at Colby College. The Lovejoy Journalism and News Literacy Blog taps such experts as NPR’s Chris Arnold and longtime New York Times reporter Felicity Barringer to educate the next generation of our nation’s leaders on current and ever-changing issues in the media.

“We hope this project will promote dialogue about one of the most critical institutions in our democratic system: the press,” said L. Sandy Maisel, director of the Goldfarb Center and William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Government. “It is our vision that this will be a resource for college students and professors throughout the nation and a place for the greater community to gather around this topic.”

The Lovejoy Journalism and News Literacy Blog, initiated through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, aims to foster dialogue among consumers about the strengths and weaknesses of the various media on which they rely, to assist them as they learn to consume news intelligently and to understand what it means to be news literate.

The blog is also intended to raise the consciousness of news producers about the expectations of their audiences. The goal is not to criticize journalists nor is it to criticize the news that is produced. Rather, it is to encourage thought and dialogue about what it means to be news literate in the 21st century.

The first two blog posts, available at www.colby.edu/lovejoy, were written by Chris Morrill (“Old news is bad news“), associate director of the new international news group GlobalPost, and David Shribman (“The real threat to the news“), executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In his first post Shribman writes: “We need to promote news literacy among our citizens… so as to nurture a productive conversation in our communities. We need to teach people how to discern fact from fiction, fact from opinion, fact from distortion.”… “This blog is opening up an important venue to do just this.”

The Elijah Parish Lovejoy Journalism and News Literacy Blog is named for Elijah Parish Lovejoy, America’s first martyr to the freedom of the press. Every fall at Colby since 1952 an award has been given in Lovejoy’s name to reporter or publisher who has contributed to the nation’s journalistic achievement through a display of integrity, craftsmanship, character, intelligence and courage.

The blog is part of a Knight Foundation grant that includes launching a January course on news literacy, hosting visiting journalists who will teach and mentor students and creating a summer journalism internship program.

The blog is online at www.colby.edu/lovejoy. All are encouraged to read, react and participate.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invests in journalism excellence worldwide and in the vitality of U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has granted more than $400 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation focuses on projects with the potential to create transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.