Who says what, where, when, why and how? - Copyright Fifi Schwarz (2022)
(c) Fifi Schwarz 2022

Welcome to newsliteracy.nl, a website by Fifi Schwarz.
Currently, this site features articles in Dutch only. Translations and new English publications are on the way.
For now, you can read the English summary of this site below. For more information, contact me via the form in the menu at the right.

News literacy: looking back

In 2013, I published my research on news literacy on this website. In my research, I introduced a definition and criteria for news literate citizens and journalists. In October 2022, I renewed both the definition and criteria and updated this website. 

The initial definition I used for news literacy was: actively, critically and consciously using and evaluating news content and the process of news production while reflecting upon one’s own role as a news user.
In this definition, news users are not seen as mere news consumers, but can be active participants in the news process as well. Note that journalists are considered both news makers and news users.

As criteria for news literate citizens I identified (prior) knowledge, language skills (needed to interpret texts, be they printed, spoken or on screen), and the acknowledgement and utilization of the pluriform character of news in democratic societies. Criteria for journalists were: first that they make clear to their audiences the relevance of the information they present, second to be accountable for their work, and third, that journalists should seek opportunities to engage with news users more often (and more often than with their colleagues or politicians). 

News literacy: looking forward

A few years after I finished my research, I started working in education, first as a teacher and now as an advisor in educational innovation. My experience in education taught me several lessons which proved valuable insights for news literacy. So much so, that I saw reason to review both my definition and criteria for news literacy. It is good to note here that in Dutch I have always used the term nieuwswijsheid, which literally translates into news wisdom. This is congruent with the Dutch term mediawijsheid, media wisdom, which is the common term in the Netherlands for media literacy.
The main realisation was that the prior definition focused too much on news and too little on literacy (or rather, wisdom). Whereas, to become news literate, it makes much more sense to not dive straight into the news and reporting itself, but to take some distance (and time) and consider the bigger picture, making sure you first have enough background knowledge needed to judge new information.

So now, I define news literacy as: thoroughly, self critically and socially informing oneself about the news and constructively engaging in exchanging information and in society.
This definition better reflects the virtuous purpose of wisdom.

Criteria

The accompanying criteria for news users are:

  • understanding that news production and gathering is a matter of perspectives;
  • making an effort to consider the context of news;
  • grasping the functions of framing (both in texts and imagery);
  • being aware of the mechanisms of information dissemination;
  • critically coveting journalism.

News literate journalists:

  • report the news constructively;
  • are transparent and accountable;
  • are concerned with making the news relevant to their audience;
  • work interactively, focusing on their audience instead of their peers or the people they write about.

Published by Fifi Schwarz, October 21st, 2022

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