Diversity and Credibility in Young People’s News Feeds: A Foundation for Teaching and Learning Citizenship in a Digital Era

  • Thomas Nygren Department of Education, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden Box 2136, 750 02 Uppsala, Sweden e-mail: thomas.nygren@edu.uu.se phone: +46 73 6468649 http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1884-3252
  • Fredrik Brounéus VA (Public & Science), Stockholm, Sweden Box 5073, 102 42 Stockholm, Sweden e-mail: fredrik@v-a.se phone: +46 72 556 34 48 http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1643-6143
  • Göran Svensson Dep. Of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden Box 513, 751 20 Uppsala, Sweden e-mail: goran.svensson@im.uu.se phone: +46 18 4711514 http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7362-1092

Abstract

Purpose: The credibility of digital news is presently a topic of debate, and curricula underline the importance of media literacy. However, the content and credibility of young people’s news feeds have not been investigated in detail in any large-scale studies. Here we explore the nature of news featured in Swedish upper secondary school students’ news feeds, how news is shared, and how credible the news is
according to the students.

Approach: Using citizen science and a mixed methods approach we review 2617 news from authentic news feeds.

Findings: The students’ news feeds primarily contain hard news from established news media. News is predominately found on news domains, not through social media. Soft news is less common and is perceived as less credible. Boys find more sports while girls identify more entertainment and lifestyle news. The news feeds also contain some highly biased political information.

Research limitations: The study was carried out in Sweden, and further international research on authentic news feeds is needed to view results in relation to society and educational practices.

Research and practical implications: In education, students’ news feeds can be used to scrutinize credibility and help students navigate towards credible news domains to support democratic engagement.

Author Biographies

Thomas Nygren, Department of Education, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden Box 2136, 750 02 Uppsala, Sweden e-mail: thomas.nygren@edu.uu.se phone: +46 73 6468649

Thomas Nygren is Associate Professor at the department of Education, Uppsala University. His research interests focus on history education, the digital impact on education, critical thinking and human rights education. His previous research, conducted also at Umeå University and Stanford University, has been published in books and journals of history, education, and digital humanities. His current research projects investigate students’ news literacy, global citizenship education, and critical thinking across disciplinary boundaries.

Fredrik Brounéus, VA (Public & Science), Stockholm, Sweden Box 5073, 102 42 Stockholm, Sweden e-mail: fredrik@v-a.se phone: +46 72 556 34 48


Fredrik Brounéus is a researcher and press officer at the non-profit organization VA (Public & Science) in Stockholm, Sweden. He has a M.Sc. in pharmaceutical chemistry and a master’s degree in journalism. He has coordinated several national citizen science projects and is presently involved in a large project aiming to create a digital resource to foster citizen science in Sweden. His current research projects include public confidence in research, citizen science and mass media coverage of science.

Göran Svensson, Dep. Of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden Box 513, 751 20 Uppsala, Sweden e-mail: goran.svensson@im.uu.se phone: +46 18 4711514

Göran Svensson, Ph.D. in Media and Communication Studies, is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University. He is a trained journalist and has taught media, communication and journalism since 1988. His research has been published in books and journals of sociology and media and communication studies and he is currently doing research in media criticism, media accountability, trust and credibility in the media, digital institutionalization and Swedish public diplomacy.

Published
2019-03-11
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