Students at a Soundview school are learning what it means to be a journalist.
An 11th grade AP English language class at the Cinema School has been working with the News Literacy Project.
The national education project was started to help middle and high school students sort fact from fiction in the floodtide of information in the new digital age.
The objective is to get the students to ask the five w’s of journalism: who what where when and why?
Working with Noelia Santiago’s 11th grade class for the past year, the project teaches students critical thinking skills to help them to be smarter and more frequent consumers of credible information,
It’s the first year the project has worked with the school, and helped to successfully the first school newspaper.
In addition to the Cinema school, the project is now working with six other schools across the city.
Elysia Padilla, a 10th grade member of the newspaper staff, said she has learned a lot working with the paper over the past year.
“When I first started on the newspaper, I didn’t know anything,” she said. “But I learned a lot and had a lot of fun. It’s not as bad as people would think. I actually enjoyed when we would sit around and brainstorm.”
Chris Oppenheimer, an 11th grade student who is also a writer for the newspaper, said he has realized how important it is to communicate true facts.
“Telling people the truth is important now. It wasn’t before,” Oppenheimer said. “People say ignorant things, and that’s OK, just as long as they are informed before they say those ignorant things.”
The News Literacy Project has also brought in several journalists to help bring the different aspects of the course to life for the students.
Deborah Sontag, an investigative journalist for the New York Times, was the most recent guest speaker. She discussed an article she wrote for the Times magazine on the United Nations role in a cholera outbreak in Haiti.
Santiago said it has been great having the students connect with working journalists.
“It has been great having professionals help to make our newspaper meaningful,” Santiago said. “It has been very valuable to our students.”