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Global Youth News Service launched in tribute to Daniel Pearl

February 1, 2006 - "Being a PEARL World Youth News reporter is fabulous. I can express what I think and friends worldwide are really listening," says Nguyen Long, a Grade 12 student from Hue City, Vietnam.

iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) and the Daniel Pearl Foundation today launched PEARL (Prepare and Educate Aspiring Reporters for Leadership) World Youth News, an international news service with articles written, edited and published by secondary school students from around the world. The first PEARL articles have come from certified student PEARL Reporters in Uzbekistan, Vietnam, UK and US, and can be viewed on the PEARL website at www.pearl.iearn.org/pearlnews.

Inspired by the life and work of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was murdered in Pakistan, PEARL aims to promote cross-cultural understanding by educating young people in the ethical principles and practices of professional journalism. Using secure and safe online forums, teenagers report on issues of interest to them. The news content is edited and published by student editorial teams in Iran, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and the US.

Any school newspaper or magazine can internationalize their publication by downloading and reprinting articles from PEARL to add student-produced news articles to their local coverage. In addition, PEARL will both stimulate students to create new school newspapers where they don't currently exist and go into the field of journalism as a career.

High school students join the news service as PEARL Reporters after successfully completing an online training and certification course (http://www.iearn.org/pearlproject/reporters.html). "Thanks to the skills I learned from the online reporter certification course, I won the first prize at the First International Young Journalists Festival in Tashkent. I strongly believe that teenagers can use the certification course for a better education and successful career," says Yaroslav Ovcharenko, a PEARL Reporter from Uzbekistan.

The certification course has been developed with the assistance of Karen Freeman from the Editorial Department of the New York Times and Melvin Mencher, Professor Emeritus of Columbia University's School of Journalism. It is free and available to students anywhere in the world. More than 60 students from 9 countries are currently enrolled in the course.

"The Internet has enabled students around the world to connect on a level unknown in earlier generations. PEARL takes advantage of the Internet's connective powers to give students a chance to acquire journalism skills, explore serious issues facing them as inheritors of the 21st century and share their observations in student newspapers throughout the world," notes Ed Gragert, Executive Director of iEARN-USA.

"Training one student in quality and unbiased reporting is tantamount to enlightening thousands and thousands of future readers," points out Judea Pearl, president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation. "We are extremely gratified to see young people from such diverse backgrounds following Danny's footsteps and carving new paths to truth and understanding," notes Tamara Pearl, Danny's sister and Vice President of the Daniel Pearl Foundation.

A key aspect of this initiative is that student writing skills are being dramatically enhanced through both the certification process and in the peer editing of articles prior to publication on the PEARL webpage. Therefore, this collaborative online project meets important state and national education standards in writing, critical thinking and social studies.

Founded in 1988, iEARN is a global network that enables young people in 115 countries to use the Internet and other new technologies to engage in collaborative educational projects that enhance learning and make a difference in the world. iEARN-USA is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization based in New York City. It was awarded the 2003 Goldman Sachs Foundation Prize for Excellence in International Education and is a 2004 Tech Museum Laureate winner for "technology benefiting humanity." Please visit www.iearn.org and www.us.iearn.org. Or write to: [email protected]

The Daniel Pearl Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, formed in 2002 in memory of journalist Daniel Pearl to promote the ideals that inspired his life and work. The Foundation works domestically and internationally to promote cross-cultural understanding, to combat cultural and religious hatred, to encourage responsible and creative journalism, and to connect people through the power of music. For more information please visit www.danielpearl.org or write to [email protected].

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