December 2019


Remember when the year 2020 seemed like something out of a science fiction story? I remember when my son was just starting Kindergarten and we realized he’d be graduating high school in 2020. Class of 2020 . How cool! How far away it seemed. Yet, here we are on the eve of 2020, reflecting on a wild decade and launching a new one. Time flies. There's just no stopping it. All you can do is buckle up and try to enjoy the ride.

As always, I spent time over the holidays reflecting on the past year; looking, listening, reading and watching. Being the end of the decade, this year brought even more interesting reflection opportunities. Here are some that stood out to me:
2019 was a busy year for NAMLE. We accomplished quite a bit and have lots to be proud of - our whole community does! In a cultural environment that can get pretty ugly, I am consistently inspired by the steady, positive and solution-based example the media literacy community sets. I often find myself thinking about Michelle Obama's quote - "When they go low, we go high." In some ways, I feel that sums up the attitude of our community. While so much around us seems to be breaking down in negative rhetoric and cynicism, we hold strong to the possibility that our work can and will make a difference.

Looking back, there are some NAMLE moments that are particularly memorable for me from 2019. Here are my top 5 (in no particular order).
We held our biennial conference in Washington, D.C. in June. It was an incredible gathering led by Belinha De Abreu, Yonty Friesem, and Donnell Probst with support from an incredible group of volunteers. It showcased new research in the field, promising classroom practices and important conversations about social justice, journalism, and civic engagement. The conference also was an opportunity for us to strengthen our relationships with tech companies and begin the important conversation about how we work together to move media literacy forward. We also had the opportunity to announce our partnership with the PeaceTech Lab at our opening event. At the conference, we also released our first ever State of Media Literacy Report in the U.S., a report we will continue to develop as the years progress.

A special shout out to our partners and friends at NewseumEd . It was fabulous to have the chance to host some of the conference at the Newseum. While we are sad to see your doors close, we are beyond thrilled your education efforts will continue. We look forward to supporting you in the years to come!

Our 5th annual Media Literacy Week was a success thanks to our 267 partners around the country and world. This year's week was moved to earlier in the fall to coincide with UNESCO's Global Media and Information Literacy Week . We are glad to have the chance to overlap with all the amazing work being done around the globe.

We held our kick off event in Detroit at Wayne State University with the support of our partners at Facebook, MediaWise , CIRCLE and PBS Student Reporting Labs .

We also held our 3rd annual event at Reuters in NYC , bringing together educators, students, and journalists for important discussions about the news and civic engagement. Save the date for MLW 2020!

Ok, she's going to be mad at me for calling attention to her (and for the slightly weird spacing of this particular section:) but that's just tough. A huge highlight of this year was bringing on Donnell Probst as Associate Director. As NAMLE's first full time employee, Donnell has already made a huge difference in the day to day running of NAMLE. Her enthusiam, hard work, and incredible sense of humor brightens my every day!

I couldn't be more excited to join forces with PBS Education to help advance media literacy education around the country. I am inspired and impressed with their work in this space and look forward to building opportunities to collaborate and reach educators.

I had the opportunity to speak at a  Congressional Briefing on Disinformation and Media Literacy Education  sponsored by Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar, Senate Commmitee on Rules and Administration. As a reminder, Senator Klobuchar's office has introduced  the Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act  . 

Alongside Facebook, Twitter, the Atlantic Council, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, NASED and IREX, I read a prepared statement about the importance of media literacy, the state of practice in the U.S. and recommendations to move things forward. You can read the statement  here  . 

These five highlights don't include so many others worth noting; the continued growth of our community, the continued success of the Journal of Media Literacy Education , our new partnership with Crispin, Porter, and Bogusky, and the endless support of our volunteers, especially our Board of Directors . I have immense gratitude for everyone who gives their time and energy to supporting NAMLE and the media literacy community. This year's success was dependent on so many of you. Thank you!

2020 is going to be a big year for media literacy. I predict it will be the biggest one yet! Never before has our work been more important. Looking ahead, we will work closely with our members, our organizational partners , our partners at Thomson Reuters, PeaceTech Lab, PBS Education, Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Trend Micro, MediaWise, Facebook, Twitter, and many more to support the growth of media literacy education.

Buckle up, folks. It’s gonna be a wild ride.
Michelle Ciulla Lipkin's signature

Michelle Ciulla Lipkin 
Executive Director
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