Julie Frechette, Worcester State University, Worcester MA
By devising critical news literacy frameworks centered on networked environments, this article will evaluate the benefits and draw- backs associated with new informational sources, as well as their emerging symbiotic relationship. Studies on generational changes in news acquisition tend to dichotomise each medium (print vs. social media) along old vs. new technology and trends. Rather than create artificial dualisms between old media / traditional journalism and new media / emerging social media, the approach herein offers a more complicated and nuanced notion of critical news literacy. News literacy models must acknowledge and address the porosity of legacy news outlets and social media as they work symbiotically in the Digital Age to distribute and constitute contemporary forms of news and networks.
The goal is to widen the scope of news literacy paradigms to better ad- dress the transformational shifts that are occurring within the production and dissemination of news in society. Using a critical approach, news literacy must carefully consider the gains of local-to-global news enabled through social media and networked environments, as well as how the loss of traditional print newspapers may affect the viability of an informed and engaged citizenry as the virtual transformation of society is rapidly altering the fabric of American democracy. Similarly, news literacy re- quires a critical understanding of internet access and the digital divide in order to address how the rising prominence of information in the digital age impacts those who do not have the social and economic affordances of technology in their daily work and life.
Keywords: News literacy, civic journalism, social media, newspapers, democracy, net- worked environments, digital divide.