Penn State Harrisburg announces News Literacy Grants

The program is a Commonwealth Campuses pilot of the Bellisario College of Communications' News Literacy Program
Graphic of a cell phone with the words news and a check mark on it
Credit: Sharon Siegfried

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — As part of a pilot program through Penn State’s Bellisario College of Communications, Penn State Harrisburg is offering four grants ranging from $3,000 to $7,000 ($20,000 total) to full-time faculty and staff members working on news literacy projects.

The funds will support direct or indirect costs for research, creative projects, or the design and implementation of teaching/curricular materials or initiatives that directly relate to news literacy.

The Bellisario College's News Literacy Initiative is sponsoring a Commonwealth Campus grant with Penn State Harrisburg as the pilot site for the grant in fall 2022. The schools of Humanities and Public Affairs and the Madlyn Hanes Library are sponsoring this grant program at the college.

The grants will support projects that accomplish the following Bellisario College vision:

“Our vision is that Penn State students graduate with an appreciation of the function and importance of news and are able to critically seek, assess and use news and current information as participants in a democracy. Furthermore, we envision Penn State as a vital resource for citizens of the Commonwealth in understanding how to assess and consume news and reject misinformation, especially on current issues related to health and science and the environment.”

Full-time faculty or staff members at Penn State Harrisburg may apply for the grants. Students and community members may also be included in the grant application, but a full-time faculty or staff member should be advising and leading the project.

News literacy for this initiative is described as:

  • An understanding of the obligations of citizens to foster an informed, inclusive, constructive and deliberative democratic public sphere.
  • The ability to distinguish news from other forms of mediated content (e.g., opinion, entertainment).
  • The ability to assess the veracity of information (sourcing, expertise, authority) presented as news.
  • An understanding of the importance and function of journalism and news (current, relevant, factual information about events and phenomena) in a democracy.
  • An understanding of the basic elements, purpose and process in the production of news and the influence of external forces on the production of news.

Ideally, projects will involve engagement with public media, campus or University media, or Penn State Libraries. Projects that involve collaborative content creation with students, demonstrating elements of news literacy, also will be given priority.

Proposals should contain the following:

  • Title and description of project (Maximum: 200 words).
  • Longer abstract that describes the rationale, project activity, timeline and projected outcome (Maximum: 1,000 words).
  • Collaborators.
  • Budget for project (all expenditures, fiscal-year timeline and other sources of funds).
  • Name and contact information for department head/supervisor.

Grant applications are due by Nov. 15 and should be submitted to [email protected]. Decisions will be made by the grant committee in December, and projects will be completed between January and December 2023. Contact [email protected] with questions.