The news literacy measurement tool used in this research is adapted from one developed for an American context, (Maksl et al., 2015).The news literacy questionnaire is used to indicate a level of news literacy, which informs the semi-structured interview questions. It is not intended to give you a score – no-one is perfectly news literate and your skills should be constantly developing and evolving. It is more intended to place you within a news literacy spectrum or range as an indicator of areas or skills that may need more focus.
News literacy assesses several key abilities you should have in order to fully engage and play your part in shaping society. These include:
⚫ An understanding of the news industry.
This includes an awareness of different media outlets, the ability to identify reliable, trustworthy sources of news (including fact-checking information you might see online), the self-awareness to recognise the effect news media can have on you, and knowing how and why news stories are constructed the way they are.
⚫ How motivated you are to consume news.
This is the reasons why you read or watch the news – your motivations. People who are highly news literate consume news because they see it as an opportunity to learn about the world, as well as allowing them to make informed decisions and opinions about matters of public interest.
⚫ Your ability to process information.
This includes recognising cues such as music or images which are used in journalism to guide how you feel watching the story, or recognising and understanding the different reporting styles or formats used by different news outlets, (for example, breakfast television is more casual than nightly news). It is also recognising these are not bad things – we rely on these cues from news outlets to allow us to more easily process information. It helps to move you more easily between stories to process a lot of information at once – one nightly news bulletin might have more than 30 stories in an hour.
⚫ Your ability to analyse and create news.
This is directly related to the last point. Becoming news literate doesn’t simply mean consuming more news. It means you are able to quickly filter quality news information from poor reporting or even misinformation. Once you are able to do this, it means you are more likely to create factual or news products yourself. This can be as basic as knowing whether something is trustworthy enough to share on your social media and participating in meaningful, informed discussion, or could even mean creating something like a podcast, using your understanding of different journalistic techniques and awareness of defining the audience you are trying to target.