Finding consensus: a pilot survey in news literacy education

Megan Fromm, Assistant Professor, Colorado Mesa University and Caleb O’Brien, University of Missouri


This paper presents the findings of a pilot study of news literacy programs in the United States in which respondents were surveyed about the concepts, pedagogy, and assessments used. It presents an on- going lack of consensus in the field about not only what constitutes news literacy but also how news literacy is implemented in secondary and high- er education classrooms. The research is framed within the context of contemporary scholarship on best educational practices and ongoing efforts to assess both news and media literacy education. The pilot survey, funded by the McCormick Foundation and the Poynter Institute, was ad- ministered to a small sample of news literacy educators across multiple grade levels. Respondents reflected on the structure and intent of their news literacy programming and were asked to consider the role of their programming as it relates to greater departmental or institutional goals. The study finds that while educators are using a mix of best practices in assessment, such as student portfolios, a lack of consensus still exists regarding other critical elements of news literacy education and implementation, including learning objectives, main concepts, and pedagogy. The researchers suggest scholars in the field must do more to articulate the role of news literacy education in the 21st century and provide clear direction on how to implement news literacy education in the classroom.

Finding consensus: a pilot survey in news literacy education by THEAJEUK

From print newspapers to social media: news literacy in a networked environment

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.

From print newspapers to social media: news literacy in a networked environment by THEAJEUK

Following the money: philanthropy and news literacy education

Jennifer Fleming, California State University, Long Beach


This qualitative case study explores philanthropic investment in news literacy education with a focus on programs informed and inspired by journalistic principles and practices such as the ones developed at the Stony Brook Center for News Literacy and the News Literacy Project. Collectively, these programs attracted the majority of foundation funding dedicated to the emerging field between 2006 and 2015. By highlighting the perspectives of those involved in news literacy grantmaking, a more complete picture of news literacy education in the United States emerges. The results suggest that news literacy funding was at first large- ly experimental and curricula developed by journalists-turned-educators significantly influenced how foundation executives defined news literacy skills and how their organizations positioned news literacy investments. The findings also indicate that as news literacy funding evolved and ma- tured along with the discipline, some foundation decision makers said they prefer module-based programs geared towards middle and high school students, while others stated they would like to see more meaningful connections between news literacy, media literacy, and digital literacy pedagogies.

Following the money: philanthropy and news literacy education by THEAJEUK


Why – and how – news publishers worldwide help with news literacy

By Aralynn Abare McMane, PhD, Executive director for youth engagement and news literacy, The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), Paris

When 34 journalists were killed while covering a Philippine election, Raia and Ruel Landicho, publishers of two small weeklies in the region of the deadly attack, organized a day of free workshops at their Sinag printing plant to help local youth understand the role of a free press. Ruel said at the time, “We believe that in a time when press freedom is being attacked in our country… it is important to teach our youth that journalism is a noble profession.” They expected perhaps one hundred participants. One thousand attended….

Why – and how – news publishers worldwide help with news literacy by THEAJEUK



The reviews pages are edited by Tor Clark. If you have a book you would like to review or have come across a new book we should know about please get in touch. Also if you have recently had a book published and would like to see it reviewed, please contact Tor on

Journalism and Politics provides a theme to the latest Reviews section. Professor Ivor Gaber, a well-known figure at AJE gatherings, offers a fascinating and topical insight into Stephen Cushion’s investigation of the changes which have taken place in TV politics, shedding light on how the format has developed and its implication for the practice of political journalism and audience engagement.

As the 2016 American presidential election gathers pace, Richard Jones offers a timely look back at a classic episode which changed political journalism forever in Matt Bai’s account of how Gary Hart’s quest for the Democratic nomination for the US presidency in the 1980s ended up focusing more on the personal than the political.

The serious issues around media plurality and democracy, which of course centre around political journalism, are examined in Steven Barnett and Judith Townend’s new edited collection, which offers a useful and timely new resource in an under-researched area for Journalism courses.

Meanwhile prolific book editor and regular JE reviewer John Mair delves into the fascinating career of former top BBC executive Roger Mosey, which progressed from local radio to BBC editorial supremo, via the Today programme and the London Olympics cov- erage, with some politics thrown in for good measure.

For those of you needing some comic relief from all the politics, Michael Foley comes to your rescue, recommending Michael Frayn’s journalism novel, Towards the End of the Morning, set in the Fleet Street of almost half a century ago, to offer a little context, and not a few laughs, to Journalism students and their tutors alike.

The Reviews section is, as ever, grateful to its small but enthusiastic band of reviewers and invites all AJE readers to suggest books about Journalism for review, or better still offer to review relevant works themselves.

Book Reviews by THEAJEUK

How do they keep all this stuff straight?

Mark Baldwin, Executive Editor, Rockford Register Star and the Journal-Standard

How do they keep all this stuff straight? That’s my first thought whenever Beloit College releases its annual Mindset List. The list, published each year at the start of the academic year, is a compilation of the cultural touchstones that inform the world view of entering college freshman….

How do they keep all this stuff straight? by THEAJEUK



The struggle over news literacy: can we include political economic contexts in the emerging field of news literacy?

Seth Ashley, Boise State University


Surging in popularity, news literacy has tended to centre on an understanding of journalistic content and its importance for preserving democratic life. What typically receive less attention are the political, economic and cultural contexts in which news is produced. A focus on content is warranted, but examination of the institutions and structure of news media systems also is essential for developing a full appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of news content. Drawing on literature in media literacy, political economy of media, and media sociology, this paper argues for a context-centred approach to the critical analysis of news content as well as its production and consumption.

The struggle over news literacy: can we include political economic contexts in the emerging field of news l… by THEAJEUK