My doctoral dissertation, “Measuring media literacy: Youngsters, television, and democracy” (2007) designed and tested an instrument aimed to measure news literacy. Parts of the dissertation appeared in the Communication Yearbook, as well as the European Journal of Communication Research. Additional research on media literacy and fandom appeared in the edited volume, “Lord of the Rings: Popular culture in global context“.
In recent years, interest in news literacy has increased. In response, Jen Bonnet of the Fogler Library at the University of Maine and I organized two workshops on news literacy in spring 2018 and 2019, and one on political news literacy in fall 2018. We also presented our work at the 2018 Maine Educators Association conference in Rockport, Maine and the 2019 Maine Library Association. The pedagogy behind the workshop was described in an article that appeared in Communication Teacher in 2019. In 2019, Jen and I led a panel on fake news and news literacy at the convention for the National Communication Association in Baltimore, MD.
In 2019, Alan Berry (PhD student) joined our team. We have since taught a third iteration of our fake news workshop, and in 2020, presented at the Northeast Regional Media Literacy conference, as well as the Critical Media Literacy Conference of the Americas. In our experience teaching about media and news literacy, the difficulties surrounding the focus on “fake news” has become more apparent. An article in which Alan, Jen, and I lay out our concerns with this focus is due to appear with the Journal of Media Literacy Education. Alan and I also wrote a piece on fake news and critical race media literacy for an edited volume published by Routledge.
In 2020, as a result of the pandemic and the subsequent shift to remote learning, we turned this workshop into a five-day virtual news literacy challenge. This challenge went live in October 2020, and was completed by around 700 participants. An article describing the design and pedagogical background of this challenge has been accepted for publication with Teaching Media Quarterly. In addition, Jen, Alan and I assessed the effectiveness of this workshop using a mixed methods design. The findings of this study, as well as recommendations for future directions for media education design and assessment, were published in the Media Education Research Journal.