A media literacy organization asked for nominations of teachers and groups who teach youth about press freedom. Nominations came from all across the world.

Why journalism matters

Children in a classroom and a blackboard that says “Test Monday: Press Freedom.” Illustration by News Decoder.

It is widely known that practicing journalism is a dangerous profession in many parts of the world.

But these days, teaching the importance of journalism can get you in trouble as well. That’s because journalism involves questioning authority and when young people do that it can be seen as disruptive or insolent. School administrations often value decorum and obedience.

That’s why Global Youth & News Media, a French nonprofit affiliated with News Decoder, gathered nominations from around the world of educators who teach — in any kind of course or program at the primary or secondary school level, at any type of institution worldwide — about the threats and dangers that journalists endure and who ensure that young people understand why a free press is crucial to society.

From these nominations, an international jury of experts in journalism, media literacy and press freedom selected those most deserving of the 2023 Press Freedom Teaching Award.

“Too often and in too many countries news and media literacy instruction skips the part about the need for journalism and the high personal price some pay to do that job,” said Dr. Aralynn Abare McMane, the director of Global Youth & News Media. “With this focus on our News/Media Literacy award category, we wanted to work toward correcting that by recognizing those on the front line of education who make sure those lessons are taught well, often by putting students into the role of journalists themselves.”

And the winners are…

Joyce Grant, a Canadian journalist-educator, and Jackie Majerus, the U.S. founder of a global youth journalism initiative won top prizes for their work in ensuring the young learn why societies need rigorous journalism and about the threats to those who create that journalism.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency in the United States won the community award for its Teen Fellowship Program. Investigative journalism organization The Fourth of Malaysia won a gold award for a news organization. The Kompas newspaper of Indonesia won a silver award for a news organization for its Muda Magangers program which trains students in journalism skills.

Out of the Box of the Philippines won a silver award for an education NGO for its Media Literacy Initiative which creates educational tools to promote media literacy, counter disinformation,

And Teens for Press Freedom in the United States won a community award for an education NGO for facilitating discussions about the importance of media literacy and press freedom through virtual workshops.

Throughout 2023 and 2024, Global Youth & News Media will be organizing webinars to explore ways to adapt these practices in other countries.

Prizing press freedom

News Decoder Educational News Director Marcy Burstiner said that with so many efforts by governments and political organizations to misinform and confuse people, it is so important that young people understand that there are people out there working to report verifiable information and they need to know how difficult the work of producing that information can be.

“If we are going to continue to have a robust press that informs us of what is going on in the world around us, we need young people to learn about the work of journalists and what the practice of journalism involves,” said Burstiner. “All teachers who incorporate the concepts of press freedom and teach media literacy in their classes should be commended.”

News Decoder has been the main media partner of the Global Youth & News Media Prize since its inception in 2018. The first edition of this particular award in 2021 honored only teachers.

Global Youth & News Media is a French and U.S. nonprofit committed to linking young people and news media in ways that underscore the roles of citizenship and journalism in society. Its programs include the World Teenage Reporting Project and the #HowToSaveOurPlanetStep1 global project.

Other supporters of its prize have included The Google News Initiative, the European Journalism Centre and the European Broadcasting Union’s News Exchange.

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EducationThe teachers showing students why journalism matters
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