Media Education Lab Convening October 23-25, 2008 (Philadelphia, PA)

You are cordially invited to join us at “Rebooting the News: Reconsidering an Agenda for American Civic Education,” Oct. 23-25, 2008 in Philadelphia. It’s a short, strategic convening for journalists, teachers, educational administrators, public-policy researchers and engaged citizens.
We’re gathering because there is an epic change underway in the way American citizens prepare themselves for self government. And it’s time to consider what to do about it.
Younger Americans are abandoning traditional news products in large numbers. Yet a growing number of teen-agers and young adults are highly engaged with media in multiple forms. American newspapers endure their worst year in decades; yet the Daily Koz political website records 33 million “hits” in one month and online political fund-raising is setting records.
If you are a journalist, teacher, public-policy researcher or engaged citizen, you’re probably concerned: Do these changes threaten participatory democracy . . . or promise to enliven it?
This year, the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) adopted news literacy as a critical focus for its membership with a kickoff gathering in August at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.
Next, The Media Giraffe Project, the Media Education Lab at Temple University and the National Constitution Center invite you to help answer this question – and develop a set of “news literacy’ strategies for the nation.
That’s why we want you to come to Philadelphia from Thurs. Oct. 23-Sat. Oct. 25 – or even just for the day on Saturday if you can’t get away from the weekly schedule – for an informal constitutional convention in the shadow of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Forget about panels and audience. Surrounded by some introductory background briefings, we’ll roll up our sleeves with circle-round agenda sessions, ad-hoc breakouts and stories about specific projects and approaches.
With “Rebooting the News: Reconsidering an Agenda for American Civic Education,” we hope to answer questions such as: “How can we best help young people engage with news media in ways that help them understand and contribute to contemporary society?” We’ll also:
* Share classroom and newsroom experiences that are working.
* Learn how to promote active, reflective and critical participation in news/current events.
* Learn about the ASNE initiative, and news-literacy at Stony Brook University.
* Create fertile ground for discussion among journalists and teachers leading to a major 2009 news-literacy initiative.
* Formulate specific advice to the U.S. presidential candidates on American civic education for the new century.
Join Renee Hobbs, of Temple University’s Media Education Lab; Howard Schneider, dean of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism; Ellen Hume of the Center for Future Civic Media at MIT; and a host of other invited and confirmed participants. For a preview of some of our invitees, go to:
If you want to attend and (1) need additional financial assistance, or (2) have a specific idea for a briefing session, contact us by email at