NewsBrands Ireland has launched Press Pass 2017, its successful Transition Year student journalism and news literacy programme. It has also announced that Twitter has come on board as a partner for this year’s programme.
Since the Press Pass programme launched five years ago, approximately 70,000 students have benefited from it. With the full support of the Department of Education, Press Pass seeks to improve literacy and critical thinking skills while helping students to develop a deeper understanding of news media and how it communicates about the world around them.
Participating schools receive newspapers, a new Teacher’s Lesson Plan and a specially created workbook free of charge. Students are encouraged to engage with the newspapers in the classroom, to analyse them and then to create their own original journalism, the best of which was entered into a national competition. Through Press Pass students become familiar with a variety of language types (information, argument, narration, persuasion) that they will encounter during the Leaving Certificate English programme. Students also learn to analyse content and are asked to think and form opinions about important social issues.
According to NewsBrands Ireland’s chairman Vincent Crowley: “All NewsBrands Ireland member publishers firmly believe in the efficacy of Press Pass. That belief is based on research from around the globe that finds, consistently, that newspapers play a vital role in the development of writing, reading and critical thinking skills.
“We are also delighted to welcome Twitter on board as a partner in this year’s Press Pass programme. Twitter’s job, like newsbrands, is to keep people informed about what is happening in the world. It enables new and existing readers to find quality journalism from newsbrands and has become a powerful tool for newsrooms. The platform is an integral part of the journalist toolkit – assisting in news gathering and sourcing eyewitnesses – as well as promoting content to further engage readers.”
Sinéad McSweeney, Twitter’s Irish managing director adds: “We believe that helping young people to learn how to identify credible sources of information is vital. Press Pass encourages students to develop a critical eye and analytical skills which are the tools needed to be a more informed and engaged citizen. Participants will use Twitter to research and verify stories, and we’ll help them along the way. Thank you to NewsBrands Ireland for spearheading this exciting partnership.”