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The Joplin Globe
Educational Services
117 E. 4th Street
Joplin, MO 64801

(417) 623-1188
(417) 627-7288

Kris McCulley
Educational Services Coordinator




NIE History

*Traditionally, the newspaper has been the tool that passes along valuable information about people, places and events. The very symbol for freedom of the press, newspapers from the beginning have played a major role in circulating the information that allows a democratic society to govern itself.

As early as the 18th century, however, at least one newspaper publicly recognized another role that newspapers could fulfill in the community.
In an editorial on June 8, 1795, the Portland Eastern Herald of Maine touted the value of newspapers in education.

Although this editorial is probably the first known reference to using newspapers in education, it wasn’t until almost 150 years later that formalized NIE programs began to develop.

1930's and 1940's

A handful of newspapers, including the New York Times and the Milwaukee Journal, sponsored programs on their own, including delivery of newspapers to classrooms, plus curriculum aids and teacher training. Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger, wife of the publisher of the New York Times, was unaware that she was becoming the “mother
of NIE” when she supported the requests of New York City teachers for delivery of the Times to school classrooms.

As other newspapers became interested in the program, the New York Times staff often mentored their employees in starting programs. Although the program had no official name, “The Living Textbook Program” was sometimes used to describe it because of the fresh curriculum material available each day.


School use of newspapers became a nationally supported program during this decade. Keeping pace with educational trends that were shifting from studying the past to studying the present, the newspaper was used to teach current events.
In 1954, C.K. Jefferson, a circulation executive of the Des Moines Register and officer of the International Circulation Managers Association (ICMA), persuaded the Des Moines school system to survey 5,500 secondary school students. He wanted to find out how they spent their leisure time. Upon learning that 30 to 40 percent of them did no reading outside the classroom, Jefferson decided this was unacceptable and took action. He approached the National Council for the Social Studies and the National Council of Teachers of English. Both groups passed resolutions supporting research on the use of newspapers in schools.


Representatives of 10 major professional organizations in education and the newspaper business met in Chicago to plan the research. It was this research in 1957 that led to the establishment of a national “Newspaper in the Classroom” program. This program was first sponsored by ICMA but was later taken over by the American Newspaper Publishers Association, which became the Newspaper Association of America in 1992. The first manifestation of the national program was the development of three annual graduate credit summer workshops that trained up to 100 teachers each year in the classroom use of newspapers.


During the 1960s, the number of newspapers with “Newspaper in the Classroom” programs passed the 100 mark. While most of these early programs focused on studying the newspaper - what it is, how it is produced, how to read it - there was little emphasis yet on the use of the newspaper as a supplementary text in various curriculum areas. Local newspapers began to conduct their own workshops, and some started graduate-credit college workshops similar to those offered on the national level.

Although most local programs gave away newspapers, some began to charge half-price, especially those serving large, metropolitan school districts.
In 1963, the ANPA Foundation was established as the tax-exempt, charitable arm of the ANPA. The Foundation took over responsibility as the sponsor and clearinghouse for the national Newspaper in the Classroom program.


In this decade, the ANPA Foundation became known as the major U.S. sponsor of NIC. But, the Foundation eventually shifted from serving the local educators to helping the local newspapers serve those educators. By the mid-1970s, more than 350 newspapers sponsored local programs, and Canada’s programs became a vital part of the picture. After the Canadian Daily Newspaper Publishers’ Association coined a new title for the program, “Newspaper in Education,” the ANPA Foundation followed suit in 1976. The NIE title stuck, and this more expansive name for the program recognized the educational use of newspapers in settings beyond the traditional classroom.


Throughout the 80s, newspapers were used in the classroom from kindergarten through college in almost all subjects. They were also increasingly used outside the classroom for tutoring, adult education, and for education in prisons, mental institutions and nursing homes. For many NIE programs, adult literacy became an important component.

During this time, many NIE programs formed business partnerships at local levels to help pay for the delivery of reduced-price copies to schools. By 1989, more than 700 NIE programs were in place nationwide, many of them assisted by a growing number of regional and state NIE coalitions.


Today, NIE programs continue to flourish across the country, and around the world as NIE staffers work with local schools in using the newspaper as an educational tool.

Although NIE programs offer classroom newspapers at a discount of half-price and even less in some cases, the tightening of school budgets continues to increase the need for sponsorship of this versatile, educational tool.

Source: Newspaper Association of America