October 9, 2014: Teaching Kids to Analyze Credibility of Competing News Sources: Topic of State Bar Conference for Educators

With blogs, Twitter, Facebook, radio and TV all delivering ”news,“ students today must learn how to decode what sources are credible and fair if they are to become informed citizens.

That is the focus of a conference to be held from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 pm. on Friday, October 10 at the Wang Center, Stony Brook University. It is sponsored by the Law, Youth & Citizenship Program (LYC) of the New York State Bar Association.

The conference, “The Informed Citizen: Media Literacy for the Classroom,” is attracting teachers from across New York state. It also will explore how far the First Amendment right of freedom of speech applies to public school students.

Howard Schneider, dean of the journalism school at Stony Brook University, will deliver the luncheon keynote speech. A former reporter and editor at Newsday, he created the nation’s first course on News Literacy, designed to help undergraduates become more discriminating news consumers.

Conference speakers include three former students who tested the boundaries of the First Amendment in cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Mary Beth Tinker and her brother, John Tinker, were suspended from school for wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. In Tinker v. Des Moines (1969), the court decided that students do not “shed their constitutional rights…at the schoolhouse gate.” However, in 1988, the court narrowed those rights, ruling that Cathy Kuhlmeier and other student journalists did not have a right to publish certain articles in their high school newspaper over the objections of the principal.

Digital media have added another—yet unsettled—dimension to debate over the First Amendment rights of students. Can a public school discipline a student for Facebook or Twitter postings made outside a school environment? Jay Worona, deputy executive director and general counsel of the New York State School Boards Association, and attorney Jonathan Fellows (Bond, Schoeneck & King), will examine recent cases addressing the issue.

Among the other workshops are: rethinking citizenship education in a digital world; media decoding and citizenship; news literary in the secondary classroom; and teaching how to learn from high-profile criminal trials.

More information about the conference is available at www.nysba.org/LYCconf/.

The State Bar’s award-winning Law, Youth and Citizenship Program is celebrating its 40 years of promoting citizenship and law-related education in the schools  It is third largest program of its kind in the nation.

The 75,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.

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Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director, Media Services and Public Affairs
Lbang-jensen@nysba.org
518-487-5530