Newsela today launched Students Vote 2016 in partnership with Rock the Vote. API will provide resources for educators in connection with the initiative.

At American Press Institute we have the benefit of building upon the work of the Newspaper Association of America’s Foundation, with which API merged with in 2012. Since the inception of the new API, we have remained committed to offering resources for teachers and newspaper professionals who want to teach about news and use it in the classroom.

We’ve also explored new ideas by expert voices in this space, such as how the New York Times is adapting its educational outreach to digital and danah boyd’s research about how teens really use technology.

We’ll continue that exploration of what’s next in part through our partnership with Newsela, announced today on their blog. Newsela is a personalized learning platform for teaching literacy through news, and claims 6.1 million student users. News organizations including The Washington Post, Associated Press and Scientific American license news to the company, which rewrites articles at each students reading level, allowing for growth of an individual student as well discussion in the classroom.

With that platform and the help of Rock the Vote — and the National Council for Social Studies, JASH, CIRCLE, and the White House Historical Association, as well as API — Newsela is planning what they think will be the largest student-­powered mock general election, Students Vote 2016. The partnering organizations are helping create an election experience for Newsela users. API’s part will be introducing thoughtful questions that all users should ask about the media they encounter.


How Newsela describes what students get out of the election experience.

We’ll share more on this arrangement when its fruits are available: free resources for any teachers on how to begin to discuss journalism in the classroom. These introductory resources will be based on an existing and popular resource on the API website, “Six questions that will tell you what media to trust.” The six questions are derived from the book “Blur: How To Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload” by API executive director Tom Rosenstiel and Bill Kovach.

More organizations such as The News Literacy Project and The Center for News Literacy have additional resources to offer on this topic, and we hope our involvement through this partnership gives teachers a taste of the merits of spending time on this critical issue.

“Knowing the right questions to ask is an easier skill to acquire than people think and one they will use the rest of their lives,” Rosenstiel says in today’s announcement.

In the weeks to come we’ll also be sharing more insights on reaching younger generations with news. When News in Education Week rolls around at the start of March, keep an eye out for more in our Good Questions series with people seeking to convey news in new ways. Look for those Q & A’s starting the week of Feb. 29, or subscribe to API’s Need to Know newsletter to be among the first to know they’re available.

We’ll share updates on our partnership with Newsela through that newsletter as well. For more information on Newsela, see its website.

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