Critical News Media Literacy: Danish lower secondary school pupils assessing the truth-value of online news stories

Kenneth Reinecke Hansen, Jonas Nygaard Blom

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskningpeer review


News disinformation is currently a central societal challenge (McNair, 2018) and a pertinent example of unsettling language, especially on social media where lies spread faster than truth (Vosoughi et al., 2018). Studies show that young people, in particular, consume news from the social media (Nielsen et al., 2019) and that they often have difficulties judging the credibility of online information (Wineburg et al., 2016). This makes them particularly at risk of believing and spreading disinformation. However, we still have limited knowledge about how they assess the truth-value of shared online news stories.
In an experimental case study (authors, 2018), we found that Danish lower secondary school pupils (9th grade) were not adequately aware of journalism standards, language norms and genre conventions when assessing the truth values of false news on social media. At the symposium we wish to present the results from this study and make an argument for an applied approach to critical news media literacy (Craft et al., 2017) that prompts young people to become explicitly aware of their truth assessments – not only reading ‘behind the lines’ (for example by comparing sources), but also by conducting linguistic, generic and multimodal news analysis. In addition, we wish to propose a theoretical-didactical model for working with critical news media literacy and social media in school.

Craft, Stephanie et al. (2017). News media literacy and conspiracy theory endorsement. Communication and the Public 2(4), 388-401.
McNair, Brian. 2018. Fake News. Falsehood, Fabrication and Fantasy in Journalism. Routledge: London/New York.
Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis et al. (2019). Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
Vosoughi, Soroush et al. (2018). The spread of true and false news online. Science, 359(6380), 1146-1151.
Wineburg, Sam et al. (2016). Evaluating information: The cornerstone of civic online reasoning. Stanford Digital Repository.
Publikationsdato30 jun. 2020
StatusUdgivet - 30 jun. 2020
BegivenhedSociolinguistics Symposium 23: Unsettling Language - The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Varighed: 16 jun. 202019 jun. 2020
Konferencens nummer: 23


KonferenceSociolinguistics Symposium 23
LokationThe University of Hong Kong
Land/OmrådeHong Kong
ByHong Kong


  • Medier, kommunikation og sprog
  • news media literacy (didactics)
  • false news/news disinformation
  • social media
  • lower secondary school pupils