Loyola University Chicago

School of Communication

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How Do You Get Your News?

How Do You Get Your News?

By Regina Merrill, SOC Website Reporter

Loyola’s Society of Professional Journalists chapter conducted a news literacy survey among fellow Loyola students, and what they found offers a groundbreaking perspective on how students consume news.

Twenty members of the Loyola SPJ chapter were trained in how to ask survey questions, and gathered information from 500 students over a two-week period. Questions included how students define news, how they receive news, what devices they use to do so, and what news sources they find credible.

Grace Runkel, a Loyola SPJ Executive Board Member, commented that “we’re not surprised that young adults are shifting to digital devices to retrieve news [but] we were surprised how students defined news and what they preferred as credible media outlets.”

Beth Konrad, the faculty advisor to SPJ, said they expected outlets such as Buzzfeed and Vine, or news aggregates like Google and Yahoo to be among the top answers for which sources students find credible. However, they found that students listed the BBC, CNN, and the New York Times instead. Konrad noted that this survey was important because “we have to make our society more understanding of how they get news. When we just had mainstream media, you didn’t have this many choices, but conversely, you didn’t have the same problems.”

There will be a presentation of the findings on February 18th at the School of Communication followed by a panel comprised of journalism professionals to discuss the results with a studio audience. Panelists include Mary Wisniewski, the president of the Chicago Headline Club and a national correspondent for Thomson Reuters; Don Wycliff, a former Chicago Tribune Editor and board member of the McCormick Foundation; and David Schaper, a national correspondent for NPR based in Chicago.

Loyola’s SPJ chapter created the survey as part of an effort to recognize National News Engagement Day, which is sponsored by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).  

The results of this survey will provide a great opportunity to discuss the changes in the communication field and how they impact students and professionals alike. The panel includes scholars and practitioners in the communication field who will give valuable insight when interpreting the results.

“Students will gain get a better understanding of who’s reporting their news and who’s not.” Konrad said. “They’ll also realize that saying that the news media is biased is a very generalized statement, and you can’t lump all of journalism into the news media. This event will also show the importance of the verification and sourcing of news by legitimate news organizations.”

The presentation and panel will take place on February 18 at 6 p.m. in Loyola’s Convergence Studio at the Water Tower Campus. It is free and open to the public and will include complimentary refreshments. Reserve your spot now at http://bit.ly/1Jad6Aj.