Innovative educators from Bolivia, the U.S. and Nigeria have won awards for teaching why news matters and about threats to journalists.
An international jury has singled out educators in Bolivia, the U.S. and Nigeria for innovative teaching about why democratic societies need good journalism and the types of threats journalists face.
The teachers have won top honors in the Global Youth & News Media’s latest competition for excellence in assuring that students understand the importance of journalism and the dangers faced by some doing that job.
“Too often and in too many countries, news and media literacy instruction skip the part about the need for journalism and the high personal price some pay to do that job,” said Aralynn McMane, director of Global Youth & News Media and a News Decoder trustee.
Global Youth & Media’s newest award honors the late Scott C. Schurz, a leader in U.S. journalism and a global champion of press freedom. News Decoder has been a partner in the Global Youth & News Media Prize awards since the inaugural version in 2018.
The international jury of 18 experts in journalism, media literacy and press freedom chose three laureates. Marisabel Bellido Terán of Bolivia won the top prize. Janis Schachter of the United States took silver, and Olawale (Ibrahim) Gbenusola of Nigeria won special commendation.
Three educators used unique methods for teaching about journalism.
Marisabel Bellido Terán (Bolivia, Gold Level Award)
A Language and Communication teacher at U.E. Gaston Vilar Casso B, Terán has been teaching students about basic and investigative journalism as well as the professionals in the field for 11 years.
Terán first learned about journalism and media literacy in workshops organized by Foundation for Journalism (la Fundación para el Periodismo) in 2012.
“Marisabel’s step-by-step method of teaching journalism to students impressed me,” said jury member Varlee Fofana, an award-winning journalist at News Decoder partner school the African Leadership Academy.
“It’s fascinating to see how students who had no prior knowledge of journalism comprehend not just what it is but also the dangers that it entails.”
Janis Schachter (USA, Silver Level Award)
For more than a decade, Schachter has taught at Stony Brook University’s News Literacy program for high school students.
Schachter’s students learn about the intricacies of well-written news stories so they can “recognize a verified story when they see it,” she said.
She teaches other educators across New York State and has attracted visiting educators from overseas.
“My students like to think of news literacy as a club where we learn how not to get tricked on the internet,” Schachter said.
Olawale (Ibrahim) Gbenusola (Nigeria, Special Commendation)
The jury awarded Gbenusola a special commendation for his work in setting up a press club among secondary level students at Ijaiye Housing Estate Senior Grammar School in Lagos, Nigeria.
“As a teacher, I have tried to impact my students’ lives positively and help them understand the usefulness of journalism and its impact in society,” Gbenusola said.
With Gbenusola’s guidance, students research and discuss national and global issues and, with the help of faculty coaches, produce stories on those topics.
“His work to educate students in Nigeria about the importance of journalism is vital, and he has done a remarkable job in doing so,” said jury member and News Decoder Trustee Nolwazi Wjwara, a consultant at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
In September, Gbenusola moved to Vetland Senior Grammar School in the same city where he hopes to continue his work.
Leila Roker is News Decoder's Communications Intern. A U.S. citizen, Roker recently graduated from the American University of Paris with a degree in Journalism. She has written for WWD, Forbes and NBC, and worked for NBC at the recent Olympic Games in Tokyo. A native New Yorker, Roker is contemplating a career in luxury marketing or journalism.