The Journalistic Learning Initiative 

Our donor funded programs strengthen research, reading, and writing skills — and empower student voice through media production and publishing.

Common Core State Standards

Our work is aligned with the Common Core State Standards, which challenge teachers to increase the mix of student exposure to nonfiction texts to 70% by 12th grade.

Programs, Trainings, and Workshops

Become a JLI Educator. We train recent journalism/media school college graduates to work alongside K-12 classroom teachers to enhance student learning.

Institutional Partners

The University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and the College of Education are collaborating to advance our work, along with numerous nonprofit and corporate partners.

Journalistic Learning students create with confidence, communicate with conviction, and take ownership of their learning.
What We Believe
“When young people experience a sense of ownership in learning, competency with media and technology, and the freedom of self-expression, they thrive. They are empowered to make informed choices, to advance democracy, and to invent the future. If ever there was a time for us to harness the energy and fortify the ideals of our youth, it is now . . .”
– ESTHER WOJCICKI, JLI FOUNDER
“Journalistic Learning is a game changer. It fundamentally shifts the focus and purpose of learning from the teacher to the student, and builds and strengthens fundamental life skills necessary for success and fulfillment. It is simply the most conscious, values-based, holistic, and effective education program I have seen to date.”
-TARA LYNDA GUBER, JLI FOUNDER
YALE CENTER
Overcoming Boredom
Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, told USA Today, “Unless what [students] are learning is engaging and interesting, they’re going to be bored — the boredom is related to the quality of instruction. It’s a shame that much of our nation’s education system is not focused on helping kids figure out their own goals, but rather [on] a standardized curriculum.” View Source
GALLUP
Increasing Student Engagement
“In its annual survey of 600,000 middle and high school students, Gallup has found student engagement drops precipitously from fifth through 12th grades. If our education system was working well, this finding would be the absolute opposite; students should be more engaged in school over time, not less.” – Brandon Busteed, Gallup
GALLUP
Strengths-Based Development
“Gallup has learned how important it is for all people–regardless of age–to have the opportunity to do what they do best every day. Rather than trying to fix weaknesses, the most successful people focus primarily on building on what they’re naturally good at and turning their talents into strengths. This fundamental insight about strengths-based development is derived from some of the most comprehensive research Gallup has ever done. But instead of using a strengths-based approach in education, we have created a system that approaches everything through a deficit-based lens: what’s wrong with students, what they don’t know, and how ineffective teachers are, for example. We even use phrases like ‘education reform’ and ‘remedial classes’ to describe how we hope to fix schools and students. Less than half of all students strongly agree they have an opportunity to do what they do best every day at school, and this is one of the key components of school engagement.” – Brandon Busteed, Gallup
YALE UNIVERSITY STUDY
Students are “Tired,” “Stressed,” and “Bored”
When a nationwide study asked 22,000 high school students to openly state “how they currently feel about school,” eight of top 10 responses were negative. The top three answers were “tired” (39%), “stressed” (29%), and “bored” (26%).
39

% of students are tired

29

% of students are stressed

26

% of students are bored

The Opportunity

“School reform” is a talking point that rarely results in significant change. It is easy to criticize our educational system and place blame. However, 50 million US young people don’t have the luxury of waiting for policymakers to resolve their debates and come to an agreement. They need actionable interventions — now.

Bridging The Gap

What if there was an immediate, practical, affordable, and standards-based way to support teachers in engaging students, enhancing classroom experiences, and bridging the achievement gap?

Raising the Standard

Journalistic Learning fulfills this promise. It is aligned with the widely adopted (albeit often challenged) Common Core State Standards. Debates center on implementation and assessment. However, most educators agree that the Standards accurately address the demands of a 21st century workforce.
¹ Dvorak, J. (1998). Journalism student performance on advanced placement exams. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 53(3), 4–12.
Dvorak, J. (1988, Summer). High school publications experience as a factor in college-level writing. Journalism Quarterly, 65(2), 392–398.
Dvorak, J., & Choi, C. (2009, January 1). High school journalism, academic performance correlate. Newspaper Research Journal, 30(3), 75–89.
² Madison, E. (2012). Journalistic learning: Rethinking and redefining language arts curricula. Available online here.

Madison, E. (2015) Newsworthy: Cultivating Critical Thinkers, Readers and Writers in Language Arts Classrooms. New York: Teachers College Press – Columbia University.

Madison, E. (2015) Newsworthy: Cultivating Critical Thinkers, Readers and Writers in Language Arts Classrooms. New York: Teachers College Press – Columbia University.
³ Blinn, J. R. (1982). A comparison of selected writing skills of high school journalism and non-journalism students. Available online here.
Dvorak, J. (1988, Summer). High school publications experience as a factor in college-level writing. Journalism Quarterly, 65(2), 392–398.