Journalism Students and Information Consumption in the Era of Fake News

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Journalism Students and Information Consumption in the Era of Fake News


  • Santiago Tejedor Department of Journalism and Communication Sciences, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
  • Marta Portalés-Oliva Department of Journalism and Communication Sciences, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
  • Ricardo Carniel-Bugs Department of Journalism and Communication Sciences, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
  • Laura Cervi Department of Journalism and Communication Sciences, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain


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Abstract:  Technological platforms, such as social media, are disrupting traditional journalism, as a result the access to high-quality information by citizens is facing important challenges, among which, disinformation and the spread of fake news are the most relevant one. This study approaches how journalism students perceive and assess this phenomenon. The descriptive and exploratory research is based on a hybrid methodology: Two matrix surveys of students and a focus group of professors (n = 6), experts in Multimedia Journalism. The first survey (n = 252), focused on students’ perception of fake news, the second (n = 300) aims at finding out the type of content they had received during the recent confinement caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Results show that most of the students prefer online media as a primary source of information instead of social media. Students consider that politics is the main topic of fake news, which, according to the respondents, are mainly distributed by adult users through social networks. The vast majority believe that fake news are created for political interests and a quarter of the sample considers that there is a strong ideological component behind disinformation strategies. Nonetheless, the study also reveals that students do not trust in their ability to distinguish between truthful and false information. For this reason, this research concludes, among other aspects, that the promotion of initiatives and research to promote media literacy and news literacy are decisive in the training of university students.

Keywords:  fake news; information consumption; journalism; media literacy; university

Published:   3 March 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v9i1.3516


© Santiago Tejedor, Marta Portalés-Oliva, Ricardo Carniel-Bugs, Laura Cervi. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.