News you can really use: Thoughts from Ontario journalists about the what and how of teaching news literacy
PRESS, Jordan Benjamin
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Schools are a place to foster lifelong learning skills. Upon graduation, students continue to learn through the news. What skills and abilities are needed, then, to become news literate? By relying on in-depth interviews with five Ontario journalists, this study brings the voice of journalists into this academic discussion, a voice that has been largely neglected in the reviewed literature. This study finds reporters largely agree with educational theorists on the concepts and lessons underpinning news literacy curricula, although refine these ideas from the point of view of news producers. Several themes emerged through phenomenological analysis of interview transcripts, including news creation as a social process, deep questioning and curiosity in relation to critical thinking, the roles of social media in the modern news ecosystem, and understanding news as a narrative that we shape and are shaped by. Each theme defines what it means to be news literate from the point of view of journalists and gives a detailed view of the generally accepted academic definition of media literacy, which is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms (Aufderheide, 1993; UNESCO, n.d.). Journalists acknowledged their domain expertise with the media and teachers’ expertise with education, meeting Masterman’s (2001) belief in the need for educators and journalists to work together to further the cause of media literacy. Educators looking for more detailed ideas for the construction of news literacy curricula can find those details in the thoughts, ideas and themes in this study.