Next steps

The current state of the field suggests that building news literacy — knowledge and skills — should be part of a solution to addressing misinformation. Focusing on news consumers, of course, does not take the onus oft news outlets, technology companies, and governments to respond to misinformation (Marwick 2019; Newman et al. 2018). In fact, the misinformation landscape is so complex that it requires a multipronged solution, including changes to how technology companies operate, how governments regulate, how news outlets do their business, and how audiences interact with news and information, something that news literacy education, interventions, and research can and should address (Bulger and Davidson 2018). Acknowledging that user response to misinformation is just one piece of the puzzle and that empowering users is a moot point if we do not have better regulations and responses from tech companies is necessary if news literacy research is going to be leveraged as part of a solution. Additionally, ensuring that news literacy encompasses knowledge and skills related to technology' companies, regulations, and legal frameworks is essential if audiences are going to be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate contemporary media environments and to have some control over their experiences.

Finally, as interest in news (and other related) literacies has grown, it has become clear that consistency in definitions and measures is key to theory building and empirical studies to understand the relationship between news literacy and experiences with misinformation, including exposure, sharing, and correcting (Amazeen and Buey 2019; Tully et al. 2020; Vraga and Tully 2019). Given inconsistencies in theoretical grounding and measurement, we cannot fullyarticulate, at this point, the relationship between news literacy and misinformation, although research is consistently showing that news literacy — defined as knowledge — is a predictor worthy of increased scholarly attention. Continuing to refine these knowledge measures by building on the existing literature and adding the necessary skills measures, which build from this knowledge, are much needed as they are sorely lacking in most research. This approach should provide a robust agenda for researchers and should result in valuable insights for educators and practitioners looking to develop curricula, interventions, and messages to improve news literacy that can be applied to evaluating news and (mis)information.

References

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