Temple University Media Education Lab

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AN INVITATION . . . to affirm the role of news in the classroom

You are cordially invited to join us Rebooting the News: Reconsidering an Agenda for American Civic Education Oct. 23-25, 2008 in Philadelphia. It’s a short, strategic convening for journalists, teachers, educational administrators, public-policy researchers and engaged citizens.


We’re gathering because there is an epic change underway in the way American citizens prepare themselves for self government. And it’s time to consider what to do about it.

  • Younger Americans are abandoning traditional news products in large numbers. Yet a growing number of teen-agers and young adults are highly engaged with media in multiple forms.

  • American newspapers endure their worst year in decades; yet the Daily Koz political website records 33 million “hits” in one month and online political fund-raising is setting records.

    If you are a journalist, teacher, public-policy researcher or engaged citizen, you’re probably concerned: Do these changes threaten participatory democracy . . . or promise to enliven it?

    This year, the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) adopted news literacy as a critical focus for its membership with a kickoff gathering in August at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

    Next, The Media Giraffe Project, the Media Education Lab at Temple University and the National Constitution Center invite you to help answer this question – and develop a set of “news literacy’ strategies for the nation.


    That’s why we want you to come to Philadelphia from Thurs. Oct. 23-Sat. Oct. 25 – or even just for the day on Saturday if you can’t get away from the weekly schedule – for an informal constitutional convention in the shadow of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Forget about panels and audience. Surrounded by some introductory background briefings, we'll roll up our sleeves with circle-round agenda sessions, ad-hoc breakouts and stories about specific projects and approaches.

    With “Rebooting the News: Reconsidering an Agenda for American Civic Education,” we hope to answer questions such as: “How can we best help young people engage with news media in ways that help them understand and contribute to contemporary society?” We’ll also:

    * Share classroom and newsroom experiences that are working.
    * Learn how to promote active, reflective and critical participation in news/current events.
    * Learn about the ASNE initiative, and news-literacy at Stony Brook University.
    * Create fertile ground for discussion among journalists and teachers leading to a major 2009 news-literacy initiative.
    * Formulate specific advice to the U.S. presidential candidates on American civic education for the new century.


    Join Renee Hobbs, of Temple University’s Media Education Lab; Howard Schneider, dean of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism; Ellen Hume of the Center for Future Civic Media at MIT; and a host of other invited and confirmed participants. For a preview of some of our invitees, go to:



    You can save 30% off the three-day registration fee by signing up online right now. Simply go to: http://www.rebootingthenews.org and click on the link to REGISTRATION INFO or REGISTER NOW. We’ve already set aside a block of rooms at the Holiday Inn Express, in downtown Philadelphia just two blocks from our meeting venues. The Philadelphia International Airport is served by all major airlines, and Amtrak stops a short subway ride away at the Philadelphia 30th Street Station. For delegates, Thursday dinner, and breakfast and lunch on Friday and Saturday are included.


    If you aren'’t sure your school, news organization, agency or personal finances can afford the full registration fee, but want to attend, please register and “Request a Stipend” by paying only $25.00We. '’ll decide by Oct. 1 if we can accommodate your request by waiving the rest of the registration, and if we can'’t, will refund your $25.00. For K-12 teachers, we’re also offering a limited number of discounted registrations. You may also attend on Saturday only.


    If you want to attend and (1) need additional financial assistance, or (2) have a specific idea for a briefing session, contact us by email at mediagiraffe@journ.umass.edu . . . .

    Help define an agenda for news literacy that moves closer to the top of America’s education agenda. See you Oct. 23 in Philadelphia.


    Bill Densmore, Director
    The Media Giraffe Project
    108 Bartlett Hall
    University of Massachusetts
    Amherst MA 01003
    Phone: (413) 577-4370
    Web: http://www.mediagiraffe.org

    Renee Hobbs, Ed.D.
    Professor, Media Education Lab
    Department of Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media
    School of Communications and Theater
    Temple University
    Philadelphia PA 19122
    Email: renee.hobbs@temple.edu
    Phone: (215) 204 4291
    Web: http://mediaeducationlab.com