National Association for Media Literacy Education

NAMLE Org Member Spotlight: Journalism Education Association

NAMLE asked Sarah Nichols (@jeapresident), President, Journalism Education Association, to tell us about the Journalism Education Association 


When did your organization launch and why? The Journalism Education Association (JEA) launched in 1924 with the mission of supporting free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities for journalism teachers and scholastic media advisers.

What does your organization do? What are your main goals and main projects? JEA programs and resources serve to educate teachers on how to educate students. We provide training around the country at national conventions and institutes. We offer national certification for teaching high school journalism. We publish print and online resources on the latest trends in journalism education. We provide avenues for virtual discussion among teachers, as well as communities and mentoring to learn best practices. We monitor and actively defend First Amendment and scholastic press rights issues across the country. And we encourage and reward excellence with awards and scholarships.

What makes your organization stand out? What would you say is the most unique thing about your organization?

What makes JEA stand out is its membership — the best professional learning community of caring, curious and committed teachers in the world! Through JEAHELP, our members-only Listserv, people offer constant feedback, advice and resources to other teachers they may never meet face-to-face, all in the interest of support and professional development. The influence of our members and their students’ work extends far beyond the school communities they serve. Thoughtful and courageous student reporting can drive change and spark national debates like the ones taking place right now.

What are recent projects or new resources that your organization would like to share with other NAMLE members?

The JEA Curriculum Initiative provides a dynamic, robust curriculum for our members to access online for complete lesson plans, slideshows, activities, assessments and rubrics in 10 content areas. Non-members can preview a few sample lessons as well.  It may be a little too late for others to take advantage of our spring convention (April 12-14, 2018, in San Francisco) but there’s plenty of time to plan for the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention Nov. 1-4, 2018, in Chicago.

What are the connections between the work of your organization and media literacy?

As journalism teachers and scholastic media advisers, we’ve long known the value of empowering student voice and teaching students to evaluate news and information. Scholastic journalism programs help students learn to ask the right questions and to analyze information. In their classrooms, our members teach students how to spot fake news, diversify their news diet, discuss what they read and view carefully and respectfully while providing opportunities for their students to produce media that informs, educates and entertains their communities. JEA offers national convention sessions and workshops to help teachers develop or expand how they teach media literacy while providing opportunities for students to practice these skills through our on-site contests.

Why is media literacy important to you?

As journalism educators, we have seen students’ media consumption steadily increase, and at the same time we have seen a normalized distrust in professional media. Both within and beyond the school setting, we have observed media consumers unable to determine fact from fiction and have witnessed the damage caused by misinformation and bias. Media literacy is a 21st-century approach to education. A key piece of the solution is providing the opportunity for students to experience responsible, ethical, critical and empowering media production in journalism classrooms.


Sarah Nichols, President, Journalism Education Association, @jeapresident