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Tampa Bay area students lead new reporting effort through Scripps News Literacy Project

Brooks DeBartolo juniors develop local news story
Brooks DeBartolo High School visits ABC Action News
Posted at 11:42 AM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-27 17:51:37-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Students with Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School in Tampa are leading a new effort alongside ABC Action News to show the importance of local journalism and fact-based reporting.

At a time when Americans' trust in mass media edges downward, the News Literacy Project is partnering with The E.W. Scripps Company to launch a national public awareness campaign on the importance of news literacy and the role of the free press in American democracy.

Working with ABC Action News Director Sarah Moore, as well as Reporter Lauren Rozyla and Photojournalist Lindsay Manning, students at the charter high school developed their own news story on how social media is affecting teenagers.

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The students not only came up with the idea for the news story that will air on ABC Action News, but they reached out and interviewed their own sources for a Full Circle report on the topic.

Students said they learned a lot from taking part in the whole process.

"I learned today, just listen to who you’re interviewing." said Olivia Mairn, a junior.

“Especially with the interviews, we’re gaining a lot of professional insight," Hannah Cileli, another student told ABC Action News.

Students tell us it can be challenging to separate fact from fiction when looking at articles from various sources online.

“A lot of times we tend to listen to fake news or get the wrong sources of information,” said Brooke Maggio, a junior.

"They aren’t able to see what’s real and what’s not," said Hannah LaBohn, another student.

The news literacy campaign, which is now running across Scripps' local broadcast stations and national media businesses and with other journalism media partners, promotes news literacy as a fundamental life skill for Americans.

Now, Jazmine Jackson, a Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School junior, said she's considering a career as a journalist.

“You’re just learning something new every single time and at the same time, you’re bringing awareness to what people don’t really know," she said.

Students also told us they are learning the value of local news coverage.

“They can actually get the real story," said Thomas Espinosa. "They can see what happened. They can take pictures. They can see what’s going on."

With "double-check your facts" as its tagline, the campaign culminates in National News Literacy Week, Jan. 27-31.

"Our democracy faces a significant threat from disinformation, and the solution is news literacy the ability for the American people to discern fact from opinion and journalism from advertising or even propaganda," said Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson. "Scripps and our partners at the News Literacy Project are launching National News Literacy Week to bring much-needed awareness to this critical skill. By encouraging an open dialogue about this topic with our audiences as well as with students and educators, we hope to equip the public with tools and resources they need to be informed and engaged citizens."

"News literacy education helps young people become active participants in their communities," said Alan C. Miller, NLP's founder and CEO. "This generation is inheriting the most challenging and complex information landscape in human history, and it is incumbent upon us to ensure they know how to navigate it effectively. And once they're taught, they develop critical-thinking skills and habits of mind that will last them a lifetime and benefit the communities where they live."

Throughout National News Literacy Week, Scripps' local television stations and its multiplatform news brand Newsy will air stories related to the topic of news literacy. All of Scripps' local and national brands are running the multiplatform advertising campaign, which invites the public to test their news literacy knowledge through "The Easiest Quiz of All Time" — a short test emphasizing the importance of double-checking facts even when they are believed to be well known.

Across the nation, Scripps journalists are working directly with high schools in their communities to produce original pieces of student journalism and are teaching them about the standards and principles journalists use to identify, research and produce a story. The stories, which focus on issues of importance to local audiences in each market, will premiere throughout the week on-air and online across Scripps' stations; a selection will be available at the campaign landing page,

During National News Literacy Week, the public will have access to lessons from the News Literacy Project's e-learning platform, the Checkology® virtual classroom, at Each day's lessons and resources will focus on a different theme:

  • Monday, Jan. 27 — Navigating the information landscape
  • Tuesday, Jan. 28 — Identifying standards-based journalism
  • Wednesday, Jan. 29 — Understanding bias – your own and others'
  • Thursday, Jan. 30 — Journalists as democracy's watchdog
  • Friday, Jan. 31 — Recognizing misinformation

Adults and teens alike can test their news literacy knowledge by downloading Informable, NLP's free mobile app, which was created to assess and improve users' ability to distinguish between news and other types of information. They can practice four distinct news literacy skills, using real-world examples in a gamelike format.

National News Literacy Week is part of Scripps' partnership with NLP to help the next generation of news consumers learn to separate credible information from misinformation in today's complex media landscape.

To learn more, visit and follow #NewsLiteracyWeek on social media.