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The question “What is news literacy?” has been asked and answered in a number of ways, as scholars, teachers, librarians and journalists have sought to address the confusion resulting from the increasingly crowded digital information sphere. Concerns center on how the difficulty people face in differentiating reliable, credible information from unverified and biased information threatens their ability to participate in democratic life. Approaches to training and curriculum aimed at minimizing that difficulty have included standalone courses, modules in existing courses, after-school programs, and online exercises aimed at a variety of populations, from K-12 to college students to adults. Given this wide range of settings and populations, it is perhaps not surprising that the content of news literacy instruction also has ranged widely. A series of articles in the Columbia Journalism Review covering the 2014 National News Literacy Summit (the coverage and the summit were sponsored by the McCormick Foundation) makes clear that beyond shared civic goals, there remains a lot of diversity and, even, disagreement about what news literacy is and what efforts to enhance it should include (e.g. Jolly, September 4, 2014; Fry, 2015; Hobbs, 2010b). The lack of a common understanding has hindered efforts to assess the effectiveness of different approaches to news literacy instruction and to examine the relationship between news literacy and achievement of those shared civic goals. A newly developed and validated measure of news media literacy may offer a way to help fill this gap.

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, published by SAGE. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.1177/1077695816651970

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