The new Certificate in News Literacy is a 12-hour interdisciplinary certificate that will be offered to prepare students about identifying false or misleading information in the media.

Cox Institute announces new University Certificate in News Literacy starting Fall 2022

The Cox Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership at the University of Georgia will launch a new academic Certificate in News Literacy during the Fall 2022 semester.

The certificate, which will be open to all majors at the University, will require 12 credit hours to complete. The required courses will explain the functions of the news media, journalistic responsibility and ethics as they prepare students with insights and tools for identifying misinformation and falsehoods increasingly found in our media marketplace.

“Our democratic society needs as many people as possible — citizens as much as journalists, educators, and other professionals — to wade into the digital world equipped with training that will prepare them to recognize the difference between truth and falsehoods,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “This certificate is an important step we are taking to teach university students how to discern credible information through critical examination of the news we all consume.”

The Cox Institute, which has developed plans for the certificate over the past year, is unveiling it as part of National News Literacy Week presented by the News Literacy Project and The E.W. Scripps Company. Dr. Keith Herndon, executive director of the Cox Institute, explained National News Literacy Week is an annual event that focuses attention on why news literacy is vital to a functioning democracy.

“We couldn’t think of a better time than National News Literacy Week to unveil this exciting new certificate and to emphasize the important role we expect it to play in news literacy education,” Herndon said. “We are eager to meet with advisers and faculty across the university in the coming weeks and months to explain what this certificate will mean for our students.”

The Cox Institute intends to use resources and expertise from the News Literacy Project as part of the program’s curriculum.

“Mis- and disinformation are designed to appeal to our innate cognitive biases and vulnerabilities, and young people are often uniquely susceptible to misjudging the credibility of the information and sources they encounter in their daily lives,” said Peter Adams, the New Literacy Project’s senior vice president, education. “This program is an important step in acknowledging the obligation we have to prepare and empower the next generation as they build lifelong information habits and important civic dispositions.”

Students across the university will be able to enroll in the Certificate in News Literacy through the Athena system beginning in the Fall 2022 semester. Once enrolled, students must complete four classes including an introduction course, two intermediate courses and a capstone course. For more information on the specific course requirements and additional background information about the certificate, please visit the Certificate of News Literacy webpage.

Herndon will serve as the certificate’s director and Charlotte Norsworthy, an instructor in the Cox Institute, will serve as the program coordinator. For inquiries, please email her at norsworthy@uga.edu.

Date: January 27, 2022
Author:  Cox Institute