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Media Literacy: Talking to Kids About Politics

November 1, 2016 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

Media Literacy: Talking to Kids About Politics

Republicans, Democrats, and everyone else are trying to make sense of American politics at this time of year.  How are kids dealing with the political frenzy, and how can media help kids to understand and analyze the information that they’re hearing?  Let’s find out with an awesome panel of brilliant media and media literacy professionals!


Date and Time: Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 6:30 to 8:00pm
Location: McMahon 109, Fordham University, 155 W 60th St., New York, NY 10023



About Our Speakers 

Michelle Lipkin (Moderator)

Michelle Ciulla Lipkin is the Executive Director of the National Association for Media Literacy Education. As Executive Director, Michelle has helped NAMLE grow to be the preeminent media literacy education association in the U.S. She launched the first ever Media Literacy Week in the U.S., developed strategic partnerships with media companies such as Participant Media, Nickelodeon, and Twitter, and restructured both the governance and membership of the organization. She has also overseen three national conferences and done countless appearances at conferences and in the media regarding the importance of media literacy education.

Michelle began her career in children’s television production, in various roles on both corporate and production teams. She earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from New York University. Michelle focused her grad work on children and television where she caught the “media literacy bug”. After graduate school, Michelle worked as a facilitator for The LAMP (Learning about Multimedia Project) teaching media literacy and production classes for Pre-Kindergarten to 5th grade students.


Lewis Freeman (Host)

Lewis Freeman, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Department of Communication & Media Studies, Fordham University; Board of Directors, Children’s Media Association
Lewis Freeman (Ph.D., Columbia University) teaches in the Department of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University. His research has examined social mobility in situation comedy (Sitcom Society, 2008), children’s conceptions of cities (Urban Communication Foundation Prize), and the future of children’s television programming (funded by a grant from the Time Warner Cable Research Program on Digital Communications). He commented on previous Presidential Debates on WABC-TV, TV-Asahi Japan, WABC radio, WCBS radio, and WOR radio.


Jean Margaret Smith

Jean Margaret Smith is Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Administration for the Kids & Family Group, a division of Viacom Media Networks. She is responsible for managing strategic relationships with social advocates, elected officials, and public opinion leaders, as well as spearheading the company’s overall public affairs agenda, including signature pro-social initiatives and corporate responsibility.

Ms. Smith is responsible for outreach to key public affairs external constituencies for all Nickelodeon television brands and businesses, including the Nickelodeon digital channels Nick Jr, TeenNick, and Nicktoons Network. In addition, she works closely with the Nickelodeon digital platforms such as, the Nick App,, on incorporating pro-social content, managing digital and online privacy and safety issues, and raising awareness about issues important to kids and families. Ms. Smith also oversees the company’s relationships with the educational community. Recently, CMT and TV Land public affairs were added to her portfolio.


Damaso Reyes

Damaso Reyes is the News Literacy Project’s program coordinator in New York City, where he oversees all classroom and digital programs. A multimedia journalist whose work has been published by The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, New York magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, and Der Spiegel, he spent three years as a volunteer journalist fellow for NLP, making presentations in New York City classrooms both in person and remotely from Barcelona, Spain, where he lived for several years.
A 2008 Fulbright Scholar, Damaso has received several grants and awards, including a 2007 Arthur F. Burns Fellowship, a 2012 Knight-Luce Fellowship for reporting on global religion, a 2013 French-American Foundation Fellowship for immigration reporting and a 2015 Holbrooke Fellowship from the International Center for Journalists.


Russell Kahn

Russell Kahn is the Editor-in-Chief of News-O-Matic. He is an award-winning author of educational products, including 10 books on the Common Core State Standards. He was the Director of Assessments (K-12) at The Princeton Review and managed scores of nonfiction titles on topics ranging from ballet to the U.S. presidential elections. He studied Print Journalism at Boston University and Elementary Education at Montclair State University.




Darragh Worland

Darragh Worland is the News Literacy Project’s vice president for digital media. After 10 years in journalism as a producer, writer, reporter and columnist, during which she worked for several major news organizations, including NY1 News, MSN Money, ABC News and, she joined NLP in 2011 as the New York program coordinator and was soon promoted to program manager. In that position, she rapidly expanded the New York program. Darragh joined senior leadership in 2014 and now leads NLP’s digital media projects, including the checkology™ virtual classroom.



Jules Beesley

As Education Director at The LAMP, Jules Beesley oversees programs that develop critical media literacy skills with diverse youth across New York City. As a Lead Facilitator, Jules has led a variety of LAMP workshops since 2011, empowering students to deconstruct advertising, produce community news stories, kick-start careers in digital media and foster healthy relationships online. He previously worked as a video editor at Lucasfilm Animation on “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” in California and on commercial projects in New York. Jules has a B.S. in Communications from Northwestern University and an MSEd in Childhood Education from Hunter College.



The News Literacy Project is an education nonprofit that gives middle school and high school students the tools to be smart, active consumers of news and information and engaged, informed citizens. We do this by partnering with educators and seasoned journalists to deliver innovative lessons in person and through our checkology™ virtual classroom, both of which produce success and results. We teach students how to use the standards of quality journalism to determine what information to believe, share and act on. We also foster an understanding of the role of the First Amendment and a free press in a democracy. and
Twitter handle: @TheNewsLP



The LAMP is a nonprofit organization bringing 21st-century survival skills directly to youth, parents and educators throughout New York City. Since 2007, The LAMP has trained nearly 4,000 New Yorkers to become active media participants. Our hands-on learning opportunities teach people to comprehend, create and challenge media, focusing on at-risk and underserved populations that cannot typically afford media programming.
Twitter handle: @thelampnyc



Communication and Media Studies: Media with a Mission
The Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University (CMS) is dedicated to the interdisciplinary examination of human communication in an increasingly networked society. Just as digitalization and other forms of technological innovation yield a media environment that is constantly changing and evolving, sometimes in revolutionary ways, our diverse program keeps current to the most recent developments in theory and practice while staying true to its mission of emphasizing ethics and social engagement. Students at the Rose Hill (Bronx) and Lincoln Center (Manhattan) campuses major in one of four areas:
• Communication & Culture
• Digital Technologies & Emerging Media
• Film & Television
• Journalism
We also offer a Masters of Arts in Public Media, in collaboration with WFUV, Fordham’s public media Station, and WNET, New York’s premier public television network.


Twitter handle @FordhamCMS


News-O-Matic is the Daily News Just for Kids. More than 3 million children have accessed its current events articles from 150 countries, and thousands of U.S. schools use its texts for their nonfiction literacy curriculum. The daily articles are leveled by readability with rich multimedia elements across elementary and middle school grades. All articles are Bilingual (English/Spanish) with interactive games, maps, and audio support. Young readers are encouraged to ask questions, vote, comment, share their opinions, and even draw artwork in response to the news. The safe, age-appropriate news resource engages children, gives them a voice, and inspires them to become active and empowered global citizens.
Twitter: @news_o_matic @russellkahn



The National Association for Media Literacy Education is a national organization dedicated to media literacy as a basic life skill for the 21st century.
The NAMLE vision is to help individuals of all ages develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression that they need to be critical thinkers, effective communicators and active citizens in today’s world.
The mission of Media Literacy Week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education today

Twitter handle:


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November 1, 2016
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
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