NewsBrands Ireland has launched the seventh year of Press Pass, its highly successful Transition Year news literacy and student journalism programme.
Since the Press Pass programme launched approximately 80,000 students have benefited from it. With the full support of the Department of Education, Press Pass seeks to improve news 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 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 is 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.
Michael Foley, Professor Emeritus at the School of Media, DIT, has been announced as the new Chairman of the Press Pass programme. He is a journalist and author and taught journalism at DIT from BA to PhD level and was also head of journalism for a number of years. He has worked in media development for the BBC’s development wing, the International Federation of Journalism, Unicef and Unesco in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He was a journalist with The Irish Times where he held a number of positions, including Education Correspondent and Media Correspondent.
Speaking about the Press Pass programme, Prof. Foley, said:
‘It is a huge honour to be asked to chair Press Pass and I look forward to reading the entries and meeting the students and teachers. Press Pass gives students the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the media, how it works and who to trust by learning to do journalism themselves. If a student knows how good journalism is made, then they are better equipped to interrogate the information that bombards them daily. If we succeed in that Press Pass will have been a success.’
NewsBrands Ireland Chairman Vincent Crowley said the importance of news literacy for students is becoming increasingly important.
“Along with encouraging the next generation of journalists through our Student Journalism Awards, the main goal of our Press Pass TY Programme is to help students make informed judgments about the news they read and share online. It is vital that young people are encouraged to develop their news literacy skills and we believe that Press Pass plays a positive role in this respect by providing schools with a free and very practical set of resources.”