The Project Censored Newsletter—June 2023

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

Media and Me Adopted for Teacher Education in One of Nation’s Largest Public School Districts

Earlier this month, Project Censored celebrated the shipment of 15,000 copies of The Media and Me: A Guide to Critical Media Literacy for Young People to one of the largest public school districts in the country. The district selected The Media and Me as one of the books that all its teachers will read as part of their Summer 2023 teaching enrichment program.

“We’re just thrilled by this response,” said Andy Lee Roth, one of the book’s ten co-authors. “As we were writing Media and Me, we imagined how it could make a difference in young people’s lives. But I don’t think any of us ever dreamed that a group of teachers this large would end up using it to engage and empower their students.”

Ruth Weiner, publisher of Triangle Square Books for Young Readers, added, “We knew The Media and Me would be essential reading at this moment when mis- and disinformation is warping perspectives and dividing our country. It’s so important that young readers are taught media literacy in schools, and we’re thrilled that this school district will benefit from the critical skills offered here.”

Starting from the premise that media shape our sense of who we are, what we value, and our place in the world, The Media and Me provides young adult readers opportunities to develop their skills as independent media users. The book’s diverse team of authors—including avram andersonNicholas Baham IIIBen BoyingtonAllison ButlerNolan HigdonKate HorganMickey HuffReina RobinsonAndy Lee Roth, and Maria Cecilia Soto, and illustrator Peter Glanting—draws on decades of experience as teachers, learners, and media literacy advocates to introduce critical media literacy as a call to action, urging young people to use media in ways that help create a brighter, more inclusive future.

This significant adoption of The Media and Me follows an outreach campaign by the Censored Press and its partners, Seven Stories Press and Penguin Random House, last February, which distributed 500 complimentary copies of The Media and Me to curriculum directors and teachers at middle schools and high schools in states across the nation where lawmakers are currently considering legislation to support media literacy education.

Teachers interested in considering The Media and Me for classroom use can contact Claire Kelley at Seven Stories Press <claire@sevenstories.com> to request an exam copy. We also invite teachers to download the accompanying Educator Resources Guide, available at no charge from the Project Censored website.


Promoting Under-Reported News at the DW Global Media Forum

Promoting Under-Reported News at the DW Global Media Forum

Project Censored participated in the Deutsche Welle (DW) Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany, on June 19-20, 2023. Project Censored and its German counterpart, the News Enlightenment Initiative, took part in a panel titled News Neglect, Censorship and Agenda Cutting Around the Globe. DW is a German public broadcasting service with channels in 32 languages around the world. The theme of its 2023 Global Media Forum was “Overcoming Divisions.”

In early 2023, members of the News Enlightenment Initiative and Project Censored recruited an international jury of news professionals and media scholars and activists to identify and highlight “transnational issues that cannot be adequately explained by conventional news reporting confined to national or local perspectives” and “news topics that have received little to no coverage by state or corporate (so-called “mainstream”) media outlets.”

The results of this collaborative endeavor were announced at the DW Global Media Forum. The two groups’ inaugural story list features five news topics that transcend national boundaries, including: 1) ongoing use of Pegasus spyware to surveil journalists, activists, and dissident intellectuals; 2) attacks on environmental activists and Indigenous land defenders; 3) the negative impacts of artificial intelligence on workers and the environment; 4) the discovery of toxic “forever chemicals” in rainwater; and 5) the global movement to restrict the rights of women and LGBTQ+ communities.

At the DW Global Media Forum, Mine Gencel Bek and Rachael Jolley, two of the jury members, and Daniel Müller and Peter Ludes of the News Enlightenment Initiative, described the shared aims of the German News Enlightenment Initiative and Project Censored and presented the two groups’ Top 5 stories of 2022-2023.

While Project Censored continues to produce its own Top 25 “Censored” story list each year, this partnership with the News Enlightenment Initiative and the members of its international jury constitutes another way that the Project works in partnership with aligned partners from around the world in order to oppose news censorship and promote press freedom.


Censored Press Author Updates

Adam Bessie

Adam Bessie appeared at Books Inc. in Berkeley on June 7th and will be joined by illustrator Peter Glanting at Book Passage, in Corte Madera, on June 24th to read from and discuss Going Remote: A Teacher’s Journey.

Two events featuring Guilty of Journalism, by Kevin Gosztola, originally planned for June, have been rescheduled for later this summer. Kevin will be at Red Emma’s in Baltimore on Saturday, August 19th, and at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington, VA on Sunday, August 20th.

 


The Project Censored Show and Dispatches Series

Cameron Samuels testified against censorship legislation to the Senate Education Committee on April 12, 2023

Cameron Samuels testified against censorship legislation to the Senate Education Committee on April 12, 2023

Cameron Samuels, Honorary Youth Chair for the Banned Books Week Coalition, who lobbied against efforts by state and local authorities to ban books or impose restrictions on publishers and school librarians, joined host Mickey Huff  to discuss the latest efforts to ban books and control curriculum in Texas. Samuels also penned a special guest Dispatch for Project Censored, titled “Texas Book Ban Bills Set a Dangerous Precedent for the Narratives of Young People in Education.” Adam Bessie returned to the Show to talk about his book, Going Remote: A Teacher’s Journey, and his recent op-ed “The End of Community College?” on the challenges facing community colleges and students post-pandemic.

Former Project Censored intern Reagan Haynie joined Mickey to interview Alan MacLeod and Rosa del Duca about a new phenomenon in US military recruitment: social media posts from “e-girls,” designed to catch the attention of young recruits. MacLeod recently wrote about the topic for MintPress News, and del Duca, a journalist, veteran, and conscientious objector, is a longtime activist promoting truthfulness in recruitment. Eleanor Goldfield interviewed mental health counselor Harriet Fraad about the psychology behind mass shootings, a type of crime committed almost exclusively by men, and rare outside the US. Fraad finds the roots of these assaults in the unique way that capitalism and patriarchy intersect in the US.

Kevin Gosztola returned to discuss several of the latest updates on the Julian Assnage case and analyzed the use of the Espionage Act in the Trump indictment. In the second segment, we rebroadcast Kevin’s conversation with Daniel Ellsberg from this past spring on the occasion of the release of Kevin’s book, Guilty of Journalism.


Remembering Daniel Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg

Gotfryd, Bernard, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

With keen sadness we note the passing of Daniel Ellsberg (b. April 7, 1931). Ellsberg died at 92 on June 16, 2023. His courageous, compassionate activism—including the 1971 disclosure of what became known as the Pentagon Papers—made him a compelling, charismatic advocate for peace, a staunch ally of subsequent US whistleblowers, and a champion of the First Amendment. As Project Censored remembers Daniel Ellsberg and honors his legacy, we are pleased to reprint an article he wrote for Project Censored, On Civil Courage and Its Punishments, which originally appeared in Censored 2014: Fearless Speech in Fateful Times.