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Use the News – News Usage and News Literacy in the Digital Age

Use the News – News Usage and News Literacy in the Digital Age

How do people in Germany keep themselves informed in the digital age - and what does actually stick with them? In a long-term project, the HBI, together with the dpa and other partners from the media, public institutions and civil society, is researching the news literacy of the population under the age of 30. The basis for this will be the HBI study "Use the News - News Usage and News Literacy in the Digital Age". In a media laboratory founded for this purpose, the participants want to develop and test new news formats based on the study results. This was announced by the dpa and the Hamburg Senate on 27 May 2020 at the Hamburg Media Dialogue.

From the Press Release of 27 May 2020 (pdf)

The aim of the project is to counteract the declining relevance of journalistic news, especially among younger people. For this reason, the project should also give new impulses for teaching news and information literacy in schools. This was announced by the dpa and the Hamburg Senate on 27 May 2020 on the occasion of the Hamburg Media Dialogue.

In addition to the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, partners in the project include Südwestrundfunk (SWR), the German Newspaper Publishers Association (BDZV), the State Media Authorities of Hamburg-Schleswig-Holstein and Baden-Württemberg, the ZEIT Foundation, SPIEGEL, the regional media groups VRM (Mainz) and NOZ (Osnabrück) as well as the Hamburger Abendblatt, which belongs to the Funke media group.

"An independent supply of news and information is indispensable in a democratic society. Especially in the past weeks and months of the Corona pandemic, the news media have proven how important their role in the presentation and classification of complex issues is," says Peter Kropsch, Chief Executive Officer of the dpa Executive Board. This makes it all the more important for the media to recognise changes in news usage and to react with the right information offerings. According to Kropsch, the dpa, which is a central German news provider with almost 180 shareholders, sees a special responsibility here.

The study of the HBI examines in particular what consequences a change in the use of news has for news literacy, general information and the formation of political opinions. "Discourse among responsible citizens is only possible on the basis of facts and trustworthy information. With this study, we hope to gain important insights into how we can maintain the high value of news as a cultural asset in the digital age," emphasizes Hamburg's Senator for Culture and Media, Dr. Carsten Brosda.

A special feature of the study is its link to a media laboratory. The publishers and broadcasters involved in the project want to use the data and findings of the Leibniz researchers to improve existing offerings to meet the expectations of young users or to develop new concepts.
The director general of SWR, Dr. Kai Gniffke, is particularly pleased about the cross-genre collaboration. "If we want to continue to provide our young audience with information in the future, we will have to change the way news is presented in journalism. This concerns presentation, language, forms of presentation and output channels. In the lab, we can experiment with new concepts in a mixed team of publishers and broadcasters."
In a next step, the participants want to develop new digital concepts for the early communication of basic news literacy in schools. According to BDZV general manager Dietmar Wolff, "the cooperation between newspaper publishers and schools on site has proven to be successful. In view of the high dynamics of digitisation, we need new approaches to make young people aware of the value of independent news journalism, from local to world affairs." The joint project could contribute to this.
The overall project is coordinated by dpa's Chief Digital Officer (CDO), Meinolf Ellers.



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