News Literacy of Young People in the Media World: A Study

News Literacy of Young People in the Media World: A Study

Either on social networks or in a search engine. In the digital age, disseminating and finding information is not only easier, but also increasingly confusing due to the multitude of platforms and information sources. In the face of changes in the media, it is all the more important to find a way to support the media and news skills of young people and young adults in order to distinguish fake news from quality journalism in a more targeted way. These skills are especially important for the next generation to maintain a well-functioning democracy with a well-informed citizenry.

A study by the Leipniz Institute for Media Research examined the interplay between news interest, news consumption, awareness, and opinion formation. 8 group discussions were conducted with a total of 35 participants and personal surveys were conducted with 500 people from the age groups of 14-17 years, 18-24 years and 40-50 years. Image source: © without license

Young people’s news competence: Influencers instead of journalistic sources

The large number of access to information and information sources makes it particularly clear that young people are losing interest in quality journalism. Young people often receive news from non-journalistic actors through social media such as Facebook and YouTube.

In the exchange of views with young people in particular, it became clear that they often lack the connection with personal life and everyday life in qualitative journalism. Therefore, dry information does not stimulate curiosity, so they will find more interest in the opinion of influencers. In addition, more than half of young people consider it unimportant to be regularly informed about new events. User types between 14-17 years old and with low education also show a low interest in news and do not attach any relevance to journalistic sources.

However, not all young people can be lumped together, as the study also clearly shows that young people and young adults who are politically active are much more interested in information about current events.

What is interesting above all is that the older the type of user and the higher the level of education, the greater the interest in qualitative journalism and the greater the ability to distinguish misinformation from qualitative information. As a result, the older generation has a high level of general education.

Action potential for journalism

In the face of digital change and the abundance of information sources, it is important that journalism providers find access to young people and young adults. Their task is primarily to offer relevant information in a way that appeals to young people as well. In this way, young people in particular can succeed in designing skills to be influenced by non-journalistic sources of information or distinguish them from qualitative journalism. Here, the most important thing is to create added value that increases young people’s interest in journalistic offers. Journalism providers should develop and test ways to highlight the everyday relevance of their offerings to young people and young adults.

The full study can be found on the website Leibniz Institute

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About the author profiling institute

Ms. Weber is responsible for the Profiling Institute blog and other activities on social media such as Facebook and Instagram.

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