By Shawn Healy
Part 2 of the follow-up survey (see post on 9/19) commissioned by the Knight Foundation was released this morning with a focus on student media literacy in the Information Age. The data reported is mildly encouraging, as more than half of high school students access the Internet at least once weekly to monitor the news. Top sources include news feeds offered by Google and Yahoo, national television news web sites, and local newspapers. Web blogs registered a close fourth. Traditional media rated highest in terms of credibility, as television news and daily papers far outdistanced Internet news sources and web blogs. However, nearly half of all student supplement these sources with entertainment news options like the Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and even South Park.
The most concerning data relates to the 49% of students who fail to monitor the news even once a week, including 29% who never tap into media sources for this purpose. Reading behind these numbers, there may be additional evidence of the so-called "digital divide," where some students have access to the Internet at both home and school, while others our locked out of the Information Age. Apathy is another concern, where in the words of Neil Postman, we are "amusing ourselves to death" through entertainment options and completely ignoring the events taking place in the "real world." Clearly there is work to be done on both fronts.
To access the study click on the following link: Future of the First Amendment Follow-Up Study, Part II