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ERIC Number: ED591128
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Oct-16
Pages: 53
Abstractor: As Provided
How Students Engage with News: Five Takeaways for Educators, Journalists, and Librarians. The News Study Report
Head, Alison J.; Wihbey, John; Metaxas, P. Takis; MacMillan, Margy; Cohen, Dan
Project Information Literacy
This report presents findings about how a sample of U.S. college students gathers information and engages with news in the digital age. Included are results from an online survey of 5,844 respondents and telephone interviews with 37 participants from 11 U.S. colleges and universities selected for their regional, demographic, and red/blue state diversity. A computational analysis was conducted of Twitter data associated with the survey respondents and a larger Twitter panel of more than 135,000 college-age persons. Findings indicated two-thirds of the survey respondents received news from at least five pathways to news during a given week with peers, social media, professors, and online newspapers most commonly used. News was overwhelming for two-thirds of the respondents (68%), so they were selective about what they read or viewed, following topics meeting their immediate needs, i.e., weather and traffic reports, news about national politics, or political memes that appealed to their appreciation of satire. Some 58% shared news on social media during the past week, often to pass on information they thought friends and followers should know. Most students defined news content broadly and no longer see news as a cohesive, authoritative report as prior generations may have defined it. Many invested time and critical thinking to assemble, compare, and interpret news across sources. Social media and the open Web make traditional standards of evaluation increasingly problematic. While most believed in the core principles of journalism, and considered news necessary in a democracy (82%), many students were dissatisfied with the quality of news available today when media and political polarization were particularly acute. Distrust of news stemmed, in part, from the rise of "fast news" -- oversimplified and fragmented news snippets released throughout a day -- and the "fake news" phenomenon; only 14% felt very confident they could tell "fake news" from "real news." Six recommendations are included for educators, journalists, and librarians working to make students effective news consumers. To explore the implications of this study's findings, concise commentaries from leading thinkers in education, libraries, media research, and journalism are included. [For the executive summary, see ED591129.]
Project Information Literacy. P.O. Box 208, Sonoma, CA 95476. Tel: 707-939-6941; Fax: 707-938-7690; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers; Media Staff
Language: English
Sponsor: John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Association of College and Research Libraries
Authoring Institution: Project Information Literacy