Journalism and Media Literacy: Fostering Informed Citizens

Offering dynamic programming for educators, students and the general public, our 2018-2019 special initiative is Journalism and Media Literacy: Fostering Informed Citizens. 

Special Initiative Summary:  Since the nation’s founding, the humanities have been seen as essential for educating citizens to understand their history, think creatively, and form reasoned judgments and decisions. Journalism and Media Literacy: Fostering Informed Citizens develops engaging and accessible programs highlighting the role of journalism in illuminating historical content and ethical issues at stake during political upheaval and unrest. It also provides educators, students and the general public with news literacy skills – the critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports and information sources – and build a more fruitful democracy. 

This program is part of the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” Initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The initiative seeks to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry. You can read our full press release here.

We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.

                             How Can You Participate?

Upcoming Special Initiative Components Include:

Leveraging the Council’s established networks of partnerships around the state and beyond, these Council supported programs and events are forthcoming:  

  • March 14th and 15th- Can We Talk? It is possible for us to disagree with grace again.

    How can we stop talking past one another and start making conversations about our differences useful again? The North Carolina Humanities Council with Queen's University of Charlotte presents this two-part forum where audiences will learn how to make conversational conflict useful, rather than toxic. Noted journalist and author Amanda Ripley will share how she discovered her own shortcomings in conversations about polarizing issues and participants will learn to apply these skills to their own experience.

    This forum is for all people who treasure that distinctly American tradition. This forum is free and open to the public but registration is required to attend.

  • 4/2/19 7:00 p.m -  "Speaking Truth to Power" SC Humanities spring 2019 event with Winthrop University, Dina’s Place, DiGiogio Campus Center in Rock Hill, SC. Jim Hoagland, Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize winner and Rock Hill native, in conversation with Mary C. Curtis, Charlotte-based, award-winning writer, speaker and editor, discussing “Speaking Truth to Power." This unique NC/SC event is supported by the North Carolina Humanities Council. Moderator: Dr. Jennifer L. Disney, Winthrop Department of Political Science.

Past Special Initiaitive Components Opportunities:

Apply to join our Road Scholars Speaker's Bureau program

  • Spring 2018 - The Council issued a call for new scholars and new program proposals relating to our 2018 special initiative, Journalism and Media Literacy: Fostering Informed Citizens. All presentation proposals should address the following humanistic question: “What does it mean to be an informed citizen in a democracy?” 
    • Deadline: February 2nd 2018 at 5:00 PM
  • 9/4/18- Online 5 Module Course- In this five-week online course, educators explore digital literacy through a humanities lens. Participants will investigate how media has evolved, how its messages shape our citizenry, and how it can be brought to life in a classroom setting. By using investigation, analysis, discussion, and reflection, participants will develop a classroom resource or lesson customized to their individual educational environments. 


  • 9/11/2018 - Webinar "Calling Bull: Data Reasoning in the Digital Age" with Jevin West, Associate Professor, Information School, University of Washington. A collaboration with the National Humanities Center.  


  • 9/25/2018 - Webinar "The Chinese Internet: A Tool for Control, Business, and Activism" with Min Jiang, Associate Professor, Department of Communications Studies, UNC-Charlotte. A collaboration with the National Humanities Center. REGISTER HERE

  • 10/23/2018 at noon - NCHC Micro-grant event – Central Carolina Community College Foundation, Inc.’s project “Academic and Cultural Enrichment Series - Democracy in the Age of Fact-Checking” brings national level speakers into their rural county for a public lecture and student workshops. 

  • August-November 2018 - Three teen media literacy workshops with I AM not the MEdia begin at CMS area high schools. The Charlotte-based nonprofit is a leading organization on media education for teens and young adults.

  • 2/22/2019 - NCHC Micro-grant event – UNC Charlotte’s “The Civic Eats Workshop: Helping Create More Informed Citizens Through Foodways.” This workshop which uses cultural foods as an accessible entry point into philosophical discussions about diversity in a democratic society. Registration required.

Apply for a Mico-grant 

  • As a part of the North Carolina Humanities Council’s 2018 special initiative, Journalism and Media Literacy: Fostering Informed Citizens, we are offering micro-grants of up to $1,000 for the implementation of projects related to the following humanistic question: “What does it mean to be an informed citizen in a democracy?”
  • The Council is seeking program proposals that highlight the role of media and journalism in illuminating historical, social, and ethical issues critical to a flourishing, democratic society. The Council is particularly interested in applications from small and rural institutions.
  • Deadline: Submissions accepted January 4th 2018- February 26th 2018 at 5:00 PM, decisions announced by March 31st 2018.