Journalism students and information consumption in the era of fake news

Santiago Tejedor*, Marta Portalés-Oliva, Ricardo Carniel-Bugs, Laura Cervi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Technological platforms, such as social media, are disrupting traditional journalism, as a result the access to high-quality information by citizens is facing important challenges, among which, disinformation and the spread of fake news are the most relevant one. This study approaches how journalism students perceive and assess this phenomenon. The descriptive and exploratory research is based on a hybrid methodology: Two matrix surveys of students and a focus group of profes-sors (n = 6), experts in Multimedia Journalism. The first survey (n = 252), focused on students’ perception of fake news, the second (n = 300) aims at finding out the type of content they had received during the recent confinement caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Results show that most of the students prefer online media as a primary source of information instead of social media. Students consider that politics is the main topic of fake news, which, according to the respondents, are mainly distributed by adult users through social networks. The vast majority believe that fake news are created for political interests and a quarter of the sample considers that there is a strong ideological component behind disinformation strategies. Nonetheless, the study also reveals that students do not trust in their ability to distinguish between truthful and false information. For this reason, this research concludes, among other aspects, that the promotion of initiatives and research to promote media literacy and news literacy are decisive in the training of university students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-350
Number of pages13
JournalMedia and Communication
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Fake news
  • Information consumption
  • Journalism
  • Media literacy
  • University

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