Elia Powers, Towson University and Michael Koliska, Auburn University
This mixed-methods study (survey and subsequent in-depth interviews) investigates the role of personal influence in how students (n=135) across disciplines at a U.S. university find news, evaluate the credibility of news sources, and form their opinions about the news media. Specifically, this study explores how opinion leaders and primary socialization sources shape students’ understanding and use of news at this stage of their development. Findings show that students place great trust in those around them to access and assess news, some- times at the expense of making independent choices and judgements about the content they consume. Implications for news literacy education are discussed.
Keywords: college students, credibility, journalism, mixed methods, news consumption, news literacy education, news media perceptions, mixed methods, personal influence