Research Briefs: News & News Literacy

Over the past few months, the Youth and Media team has collaborated with Chicago-based organizations that encourage and support youth to be active, engaged, news-literate community members. The YaM team found fascinating trends in youth information behavior and identified new opportunities for learning. We challenged existing frameworks for news literacy and developed practical guidance for community-based practitioners. And now we’re excited to share the results with you!

Our four research and practice briefs take diverse, yet interconnected, approaches to news literacy, and they are now available for download through SSRN:

1) “The Challenges of Defining ‘News Literacy’ ” seeks to stimulate a discussion about approaches to defining, framing, and understanding core concepts such as ‘news’ and ‘news literacy’. The brief draws on our growing body of research into everyday youth behaviors, and identifies key competencies for youth to become empowered, informed, connected citizens.

2) “Mapping Approaches to News Literacy Curriculum Development: A Navigation Aid” helps build the capacity of our community of practitioners to develop and teach news literacy curricula. We provide a concise summary of approaches to news literacy, current methods of reaching youth through instruction, as well as a roadmap for innovative curriculum design. 

3) “Youth News Perceptions and Behaviors Online: How Youth Access and Share Information in a Chicago Community Affected by Gang Violence” takes an on-the-ground approach to news readership and examines the everyday information needs of youth living in Chicago. The brief draws upon focus group interviews that raise new questions about how youth online behaviors are affected by community violence.

4) “Evaluation in Context: Reflections on How to Measure Success of Your “WNM” Program” is a thoughtful roadmap for organizations and programs to implement a data-driven evaluation cycle. Written by Youth and Media mentor Justin Reich, with the support of the YaM team, this practice brief encourages nonprofits, as learning organizations, to critically and impartially examine and improve their self-efficacy as they work towards meaningful objectives.

We invite you to review our team outputs and contribute your reactions and reflections to the dialogue!

This work is supported by a generous grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation through their Why News Matters program.