Journalists in Classrooms (JiC) is a grassroots network of journalists committed to equipping students with the knowledge and tools necessary for civic engagement. Founded in Sacramento in fall 2018, we work directly with educators to bring news literacy into classrooms through a combination of live guest speaker visits by local journalists and news literacy training for teachers. We aim to instill students with the capacity to independently discern factual, detached reporting from opinion, advertising, and disinformation. We work at the district level to ensure consistency and continuity. Presently we focus on schools in Sacramento.
We believe in transforming education to meet the challenges created by a misleading online information environment. This starts with local journalists who share reporting and fact-checking skills with students and educators in their community to foster enhanced understanding of news content and the ability to ask insightful questions — skills critical to all forms of learning. Greater understanding of news media inspires youth to participate in scholastic journalism, shown to improve academic performance. We work with our partner The SacCounty Breeze, a county-wide student newspaper, to funnel interested students into student reporting opportunities.
Our guest speakers have included: Capital Public Radio reporter Sammy Caiola, Sacramento Business Journal reporter Felicia Alvarez, former ABC 10 anchor Keristen Holmes, Sacramento News & Review editor Raheem Hosseini, freelance science journalist Emily Underwood, CalMatters science reporter Rachel Becker, KCRA online and social media editor Maneeza Iqbal, Capital Public Radio reporter Ezra David Romero, Capital Public Radio/California PolitiFact reporter Chris Nichols, Capital Public Radio news editor Kris Hooks, Buzzfeed reporter Ryan Mac, Mendocino Voice editor Adrian Fernandez Baumann, ABC 10 reporter Sabrina Sanchez, and Fox 29 San Antonio reporter Mayde Gomez.
Sacramento-based freelance writer Tess Townsend manages JiC. Past organizers who helped launch JiC include educator Vanessa Marrero and journalists Stu VanAirsdale, Allison Joy, and Stephanie Hays.
In Spring 2019, we raised roughly $6,000 through our fiscal agent California Press Foundation (CalPress) to cover costs of a professional development day around news literacy for Sacramento teachers. We held the event in August 2019. The funding we raised also helps us maintain JiC’s website, costs for CalPress to process funding, and educational materials for guest speaker visits. JiC is not part of CalPress. We are interested in raising additional funding to expand our operations.
To inquire about donating to JiC, visiting a classroom, or bringing JiC to your classroom, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.