How students engage with news

by | 1 Nov 2018

For many college students in America today, the news is an overwhelming hodgepodge of headlines, posts, alerts, tweets, visuals and conversations that stream at them throughout the day. This is a quote from a recent report from Project Information Literacy (PIL), a US national research institute, on how students engage with news.



Disinformation – filter bubble – fake news – misinformation

The report (published 16 October ’18) explores how U.S. college-age students are accessing, consuming, and engaging with news in the digital era. My guess is, that these findings also apply to students outside the U.S.

In times where topics like disinformation, filter bubble, fake news and misinformation are high on the agenda, it is important to address these in the classroom and in information literacy workshops and assignments.

The report presents us with 5 takeaways and 6 recommendations.



  • There are many pathways to news — not only on social media
  • News knows no personal boundaries, so students follow selectively
  • Tension exists between idealised views of journalism and a distrust of today’s news
  • Students share news on social media as stewards of what’s important to know
  • Traditional standards for evaluating news are increasingly problematic



  • Teach students ‘knowledge in action’ skills early on and throughout their education
  • Integrate news discussions into the classroom
  • Reconsider how we teach evaluation
  • Bring the value of context back to news coverage
  • Journalists need to continue embracing new forms of storytelling and new audience engagement strategies
  • We need to pressure social media companies to do much more to empower young news consumers


Interested in more information?

To learn more about this study, read the full report or the executive summary.
Especially with regard to the first three recommendations the UM Library and your faculty can join forces in teaching students the information skills they need.


Explore options

To explore the options, contact Henriëtta Hazen, coordinator Skills & Academic Support UM Library via Ask your Librarian.

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