What do we mean by news literacy?
News literacy is the ability to think and speak for ourselves about current affairs. In order to do this, we need to develop the knowledge and skills needed to form an accurate picture of what is happening in the world and justify opinions about the news with sound arguments.
Our news literacy model
The news literacy model has been created by The Economist Educational Foundation as a way to support the development of news literacy in young people. It outlines the knowledge and skills needed to engage with the news.
The model includes a News Curriculum which details the specific knowledge required to understand the news. It also sets out four essential critical-thinking and communication skills: speaking, listening, problem-solving and creativity. These skills form part of the Skills Builder Universal Framework*.
We’ve created resources for teachers to help them to use the news literacy model in their classrooms. The resources are suitable for use with students aged 9-16.
*The Skills Builder Framework is a tool to develop and measure progress in the essential skills for school, university and employment. It can be found at skillsbuilder.org/framework.
Why these skills?
Good listeners learn more.
To understand the news, we need to gather all the important information. That means we need to be able to listen well. Sometimes, we don’t really listen to things that we don’t agree with. That can mean that we miss out on hearing important perspectives or being able to hear the truth. Other times, we can be too easily persuaded by information that isn’t true, because we don’t listen well enough to spot that it’s false. Listening well means really trying to understand what you’re hearing, so that you can learn new things.
Good speakers have discussions that help everyone to learn, including themselves.
Speaking is an important part of news literacy for two reasons. Firstly, it helps us to work out what we think about the news, by enabling us to join discussions about it. In discussions, we can hear different people’s opinions, ask questions to find out more and think hard to answer questions that people ask us. This all helps us to learn. Secondly, speaking helps us to express our opinions about what’s happening in the news and what should be done about it.
Good problem-solvers can work out what’s really going on and what should be done about it.
Problem-solving is an important part of news literacy because it enables us to work out what we think about the news. It helps us to work out whether information is true or false. Also, when we hear about problems in the news such as climate change, problem solving helps us to work out how those problems could be solved. Problem-solving helps us to decide between different points of view, too. Sometimes there are lots of different opinions about a news story and problem-solving helps us to work out which ones make most sense, which ones we agree with and why.
Creative people can come up with ideas about what might be going on and what could be done about it.
Creativity helps us to come up with ideas that help us to understand the news. For example, we might come up with ideas about why something is happening in the news. Or we might come up with ideas about how different events in the news might be connected, which helps us to understand the reasons for things. It also helps us to work out which points of view on the news we agree with, by enabling us to imagine the consequences of those points of view. Creativity and problem-solving go together. Just like problem-solving, creativity helps us to work out what we think and come up with ways to solve problems that we hear about in the news.
How to identify trustworthy news
Eight indicators to help identify trustworthy news, adapted from The Trust Project’s Trust Indicators. Useful for building knowledge and planning activities.
News curriculum poster
A poster summarising the news curriculum, written in student-friendly language. Useful for displaying in a classroom, supporting students to reflect on their news discussions and planning activities.
News literacy skills poster
A poster summarising the news literacy skills, written in student-friendly language. Useful for displaying in a classroom, supporting students to reflect on their news discussions and planning activities.
A selection of questions which can help to develop news literacy knowledge and skills. Useful for questioning students about the news, having students question each other and reflection activities.
Tips for discussing the news
Some student tips for discussing current affairs in the classroom.
Useful for creating a positive and respectful discussion environment, and building student confidence in sharing their ideas
Tips for managing sensitive conversations
Some tips for how to manage conversations about controversial or difficult issues in the news. Useful for facilitating conversations about the news.