Just days before Apple’s big March 25th event where it will unveil a new subscription news service, the company has revealed plans to support three media literacy programs in the United States and across Europe. Each program shares a similar goal in combating so-called fake news (fictitious stories intended to drive traffic and not spread truth).

Apple will offer support for the News Literacy Project and Common Sense in the US as well as the Italy-based Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori across Europe as part of the new initiative.

Lauren Kern, editor-in-chief of Apple News and ex-New York Magazine editor, added that Apple News is committed to surfacing factual news from reliable publications:

“We’re thrilled that Apple is supporting these important organizations to train the next generation on how to seek out accurate and reliable information amid an increasingly complicated news landscape.”

Each of the three programs are described as independent and non-partisan, something important to prevent Apple from being accused of influencing or pushing certain viewpoints. Apple’s role in the initiative appears to be primarily helping the three media literacy programs continue operating (presumably with a financial donation), although the announcement is sparse on further details.

Retired journalist Walt Mossberg, now a News Literacy Project board member, described Apple’s involvement as the group’s largest corporate gift in over a decade:

More from NLP’s side of the story:

Through this initiative, the News Literacy Project will receive a significant contribution and ongoing support from Apple. This will enable us to scale up our programs and resources — specifically, the Checkology® virtual classroom, our signature e-learning platform; The Sift, our free weekly newsletter for educators; and our Newsroom to Classroom program, which will connect journalists and educators registered to use Checkology Premium and starts later this year.

Another detail not mentioned in the announcement: Tim Cook has joined the board to the Osservatorio’s International Advisory Council.

Read the full press release below:

Apple teams with media literacy programs in the US and Europe PRESS RELEASE March 19, 2019

New Initiative to Encourage Critical Thinking and Empower Students to be Better Informed

Cupertino, California — Apple today announced a new initiative in support of leading nonprofit organizations in the US and Europe that offer nonpartisan, independent media literacy programs. The News Literacy Project (NLP) and Common Sense in the US and Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori in Italy will each receive support from Apple to advance their efforts in empowering young people with the critical thinking skills necessary in today’s digital age.

“News literacy is vital to sustaining a free press and thriving democracy, and we are proud to be collaborating with organizations on the front lines of this effort,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve been impressed by the important work being done by the News Literacy Project, Common Sense and Osservatorio, empowering young people to be active and engaged citizens.”

“Apple News is committed to presenting quality journalism from trusted sources,” said Lauren Kern, editor-in-chief of Apple News. “We’re thrilled that Apple is supporting these important organizations to train the next generation on how to seek out accurate and reliable information amid an increasingly complicated news landscape.”

“We are grateful for Apple’s commitment to fighting misinformation and sustaining quality journalism,” said Alan C. Miller, founder and CEO of NLP. “NLP is committed to equipping the next generation with the critical thinking skills to discern what news and other information to trust and the tools to become informed and engaged participants in our country’s democracy. We welcome this timely initiative to help achieve our vision of seeing news literacy embedded in the American educational experience.”

“The lack of young people’s news literacy skills is a growing problem for our country. Revelations about the manipulation of news and the resulting impact on society have shed light on both the importance and scale of the issue,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense. “We need to help our students not just seek out legitimate news, but also think critically about the broader world of media and ideas. Apple shares in our mission to raise a generation of children who will thrive as learners, leaders and citizens in the digital age, and Common Sense is delighted to be part of this important effort.”

“Our mission is to help young people develop critical thinking skills by comparing different sources of quality information,” said Andrea Ceccherini, founder and CEO of Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori. “At a time when fake news is spreading, we cannot give in to the idea that third-party fact-checking services are the only way to assess the reliability of news sources. We can exercise our own minds, and be masters of our own destiny. Our ambition is to help form more citizens, increasingly opening our society to a culture of civilized debate and confrontation, which is the basis of every healthy democracy.”

The News Literacy Project The News Literacy Project (NLP), a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, empowers educators to teach middle school and high school students the skills they need to become smart, active consumers of news and other information and engaged, informed participants in our democracy. Since NLP’s signature education platform, the Checkology virtual classroom, was released in May 2016, more than 17,800 educators in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, three US territories and 104 other countries have registered to use it, and more than 124,000 students have benefited from its lessons. Students have told NLP that as a result of what they have learned in Checkology, they are more confident in their ability to discern and create credible information, have a greater appreciation of the role of a free press in a democracy, and are more likely to become civically engaged by voting when eligible to do so or by becoming politically active. NLP’s vision is to see news literacy — a critical life skill — embedded in the American educational experience.

Common Sense Common Sense is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in the digital age. Common Sense Education supports K-12 schools with everything educators need to empower the next generation of digital citizens. The organization’s innovative, award-winning Digital Citizenship Curriculum prepares students with lifelong habits and skills, supports teachers with training and recognition, and engages families and communities with helpful tips and tools. To help young people navigate today’s news landscape with sharp and open minds, Common Sense aims to help students not just seek out legitimate news, but also think critically about the broader world of media and ideas. The Common Sense news literacy initiative will provide timely content and resources for parents, educators and teens with the goal of improving news literacy among young people. Common Sense Digital Citizenship Curriculum is taught in more than half the schools in the United States, by more than 700,000 educators.

Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori is Italy’s leading independent organization in citizenship education focused on media literacy projects. For over 18 years, Osservatorio’s mission has been to help today’s young people become citizens of tomorrow, participate more in our democracy and develop critical thinking that sets them free. Osservatorio operates in education by training high school teachers, who then bring Osservatorio’s media literacy projects into their classrooms with the goal of increasing student curiosity, thirst for knowledge and critical thinking. As students compare different quality news sources, they learn to distinguish between reliable journalism and fake news.

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