“We Are a Neeeew Generation”: Early Adolescents’ Views on News and News Literacy

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To function as well-informed citizens in democracy, early adolescents (12-16 y/o) should become more news literate news consumers. In this time of fragmented media use and evolving conceptions of (the importance and relevance of) news, this is not a simple task. This study investigated news consumption and -literacy through the eyes of early adolescents (Part 1) and early adolescents’ views on effective news literacy interventions (Part 2) by conducting 8 focus groups (N = 55). Focus groups were transcribed, resulting in almost 90,000 words, which were analyzed employing thematic analysis. Discussions of Part 1 showed relatively broad definitions of news and predominantly passive news consumption, possibly due to a lack of intrinsic motivation. News was seen as important, but often boring, repetitive and negative, and disconnected from early adolescents. Participants had knowledge of the effects of news content, stressing the importance of reliable news. However, for the majority this did not translate into active critical evaluation. Based on an assignment and guided discussion on news literacy interventions in Part 2, three requirements for a match between intervention and target group were identified: tailored content, accessibility and interactivity. Together, both parts contribute to research and education on news and news literacy. Keywords: news literacy, news consumption, early adolescents, fake news, disinformation, focus groups, news literacy interventions
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