Penn State News Literacy

News Literacy Initiative

Free Press • Democracy • Reliable Journalism

U.S. Constitution First Amendment

Our Mission

Unreliable information overwhelms our media system and citizens are increasingly avoiding the news. In the spirit of our land grant mission, Penn State’s News Literacy Initiative aims to help, teaching students and citizens strategies for telling the difference between reliable public interest journalism and the noise that often overwhelms and divides us.

Our efforts will leverage resources from across the University system in a multipronged approach that will include campus events, K-12 teacher education webinars, online certification programs, a student News Literacy Ambassador program and a radio show/podcast titled News over Noise.

We hope this website and the multiple portions of the initiative will become a resource for everyone in the commonwealth.

Podcast produced by WPSU featuring Penn State faculty member Matt Jordan and postdoc Leah Dajches focusing on news literacy-related topics.

If you find yourself avoiding the news, you're not alone. But what's turning you off is likely not the news itself—it's the noise surrounding it. News over Noise explores the challenge of separating spin and click-bait from good journalism and why it matters. This podcast empowers our citizenry by giving listeners the tools they need to balance staying informed while protecting their well-being and the public good.


Listen to News over Noise Episodes



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Sign up to get periodic updates from the News over Noise team.


Penn State Programs and Resources

Penn State's News Literacy Initiative is teaming up with PEN America to launch an Ambassador Institute that aims to teach students to reflect on the importance of journalism, to think critically about how news is produced, and to consider how it is shared in our increasingly digital world.

This four-week educational training program offered in-person at Penn State University will include hybrid presentations led by PEN America staff and Penn State educators, interactive workshops designed to teach critical skills, and discussion sessions with activities to dive deeper into the issues with their peers. Ambassadors will also be provided with opportunities to engage in public scholarship, such as teaching junior students about the importance of news literacy, and creating content for PEN America and Penn State social media accounts.

We are looking for students who are passionate about democracy, enjoy thinking critically, and will thrive as news literacy leaders throughout the News Literacy Ambassador Institute this Spring. Those who complete the four week program will earn a certificate of professional achievement in news media literacy from PEN America and Penn State, and will be well-positioned to apply for opportunities such as paid internships promoting the initiative across the University.