Critical thinking and media literacy are essential skill sets for students in the 21st century. Teachers who bring Project Censored into their classrooms give their students direct, hands-on opportunities to develop their critical thinking skills and media literacy.
For college students, researching Validated Independent News stories (VINs) can be a challenging and rewarding assignment that instructors can tailor to fit their courses and students’ needs. Identifying, researching, and summarizing candidate stories will sharpen students’ critical thinking skills (including interpretation, evaluation, and explanation) and enhance their media literacy.
Project Censored posts candidate stories accepted as Validated Independent News (VINs) online and subsequently considers these for inclusion among the top 25 stories in our annual book. Both online and in the book, we acknowledge the students and faculty who contribute VINs by name.
For guidelines on how to find, evaluate, and summarize Validated Independent News stories, click here.
To download the Teacher’s Guide for State of the Free Press | 2021, click here.
For both high school and college students, instructors can consider our “Censorship Guide for Teachers: 12 Ways To Use Project Censored In Your Classroom.” We also recommend the Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME) resource, “Our 21st Century Media Culture: Eight Shifts.”
I love using Project Censored in my classes. When the students begin the process of analyzing independent news stories it is as if a lightbulb has turned on for them and they never look at media the same way again.
Susan Rahman, Sociology, College of Marin and Sonoma State University
I have used the Project Censored books in my classes for 20 years. The top 25 Censored stories quickly demonstrate to students that they cannot rely on the corporate media for the accurate information necessary to a democracy. Project Censored lays the foundation for teaching a global analysis of social and environmental justice and the activism required to work for it.
Julie Andrzejewski, Department of Human Relations and Multicultural Education, St. Cloud State University
Few assignments are as relevant to liberal arts education for the 21st century as Project Censored. According to published reports by the Pew Research Center and others, news consumption among young people is on the decline. Project Censored cultivates student engagement with news, civic affairs, and public policy debates – arguably a cornerstone for rigorous liberal arts training.
Project Censored is a unique mechanism for establishing disciplinary connections across campus. Here at DePauw University, students enrolled in introductory media studies courses work collaboratively with faculty and staff whose expertise may be in economics, history, women’s studies, environmental science or conflict studies, among other disciplines. These collaborative efforts demonstrate the potential for student-faculty research—research that not only makes it to publication, but also highlights student agency in counteracting the deficiencies of a dysfunctional journalistic culture. In the parlance of activists and reform-minded critics, Project Censored encourages students and faculty alike to “speak back” to the media.
-Kevin Howley, Media Studies, DePauw University
Project Censored’s annual yearbook, published by Seven Stories Press, anchors my Alternative Media class, serving not only as a textbook and guide to alternative media, but as an inspiration for my students. This is a designated Service Learning class where students validate censored or underreported stories for Project Censored, which our institution has vetted as a Service Learning partner. Since the vast majority of censored or underreported stories come from alternative media, searching for and validating such stories gives students an intimate familiarity with the breadth of available alternative media sources, making this partnership ideal as a real world tool for teaching about alternative media. The process of discovering an important censored or underreported story, researching and validating it, and seeing it go “global” as a neat package on Project Censored’s website, all before the end of the semester, has proven to be an inspirational and sometimes transformational experience for students. Once a story goes online, students often enthusiastically share the experience on social media, virally sharing what they have learned.
Michael I. Niman, Journalism & Critical Media Studies, State University of New York-Buffalo
-Zachary McNanna, North Central College, ’20