How can we help young people become more critically aware of the news?

Tuesday 20 June 2023, 12:30 pm
PhD student
S.L. Tamboer MSc.
prof. dr. T. Bosse
dr. M. Kleemans, dr. I. Molenaar

There is so much information these days that it can be difficult to determine what is real news, what is important, and what is accurate. This is particularly challenging for young adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15. They often grew up with a phone in their hand and can explain in detail how TikTok works. And yet they struggle to critically assess the information they encounter. One possible solution is to increase their news literacy. This means understanding how news is made, assessing or fact-checking news items a second time, and applying this every time they watch or read the news. They should ask themselves questions like: Where does this information come from? And is it accurate? This PhD thesis examines how early adolescents interact with news and describes initiatives to promote their application of news literacy. Five empirical studies describe the news consumption of young people today and what they think could help them improve their news literacy. A series of lessons was developed for this purpose. 

Sanne Tamboer (1995, Apeldoorn) obtained her Bachelor's degree in Communication Science (cum laude) from University of Amsterdam in 2016, followed by a Research Master's in Behavioural Science and a Master's in Communication Science from Radboud University in 2018 (both cum laude). In her PhD project (2018-2022), Sanne focused on understanding and promoting the use of news literacy in early adolescents. Her research has appeared in several academic journals, including Journalism and Mass Communication and Society. In addition to her research, Sanne was a member (2018-2020) and chair (2020-2021) of the BSI PhD Platform, and a board member (2019-2021) of the Netherlands Flanders Communication Association (NeFCA) Young Scholars Network. During her PhD project, Sanne was awarded the Christine Mohrmann Scholarship (2022), which allowed her to visit University of Maine (Bangor, Maine) and Northwestern University (Chicago, Illinois) in April and May 2023. Sanne currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at Radboud University’s Behavioural Science Institute.