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
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
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.
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
of NIE” when she supported the requests of New
York City teachers for delivery of the Times to school
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Source: Newspaper Association of America