Public Trust, Media Credibility and Democracy

Fourth Annual National News Literacy Week | Jan. 23-27, 2023

Fourth Annual National News Literacy Week
Jan. 23-27, 2023

Just 26% of Americans say they trust most news most of the time.

Americans' trust in the media to report the news "fully, accurately and fairly" has been hovering at historic lows in recent years, according to several surveys. In 2022, almost a third of American adults said the news was untrustworthy or biased and just 26% said they trusted most news most of the time. It's been a precipitous fall from an all-time high of 72% in the aftermath of the Watergate reporting during Richard Nixon's presidency in the 1970s.

So where does that leave us? Lost in our social feeds, drowning in disinformation and ultimately cynical about all information. When we can’t agree on the facts, we can’t have productive conversations about the important issues in our lives. And accepting a common body of facts is essential to the functioning of democracy.

Of course, it’s up to the news media to be transparent and demonstrate why we should trust them. But as news consumers, we, too, must show up and become more news-literate — understand the hallmarks of quality journalism and learn to spot mis- and disinformation. We each have a role and a responsibility to close the credibility gap. That’s why this year’s National News Literacy Week is focused on clarifying the problem of public distrust.

Where has the press gone wrong, how much are political spin and disinformation to blame and what can we, as news consumers, do about it?

Take these steps to help close the credibility gap:

Step 1: Know how to spot misinformation

RumorGuard

Use RumorGuard’s fact-checked viral rumors to help you build your news literacy foundation and confidently evaluate claims you see online.

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Understand (and share) the 5 factors of credibility.

EXPLORE

Take a crash course on Misinformation on Checkology®.

EXPLORE

Attend a National News Literacy Week Event:
Our brain and misinformation: Why people believe lies and conspiracy theories.

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Step 2: Seek out trustworthy information

Seven Standards of Quality Journalism

Recognize the standards of quality journalism in practice.

EXPLORE

Learn the hallmarks of credible science-related information.

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Step 3: Champion news literacy

Share these tools with your community.

Eight Tips to Google Like a Pro

Improve your search results and zero in on what you’re looking for more quickly.

EXPLORE

Use these six tips — with some helpful phrases for getting started — as a guide on how to speak up without starting a showdown.

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Get your bearings in the misinformation landscape.

EXPLORE

Cut through the noise and learn how to evaluate sources for signs of credibility.

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Learn to recognize conspiratorial thinking and understand its consequences.

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Test your ability to tell the difference between social media posts that are false or misleading and those that are credible.

EXPLORE

Step 4: Join the movement

We’re transforming our singular mission into a national movement, and we want you to be a part of it.

Together, we can push back against misinformation in all its forms. This work will move us much closer to changing cultural attitudes toward mis- and disinformation, mirroring previous successful public education efforts that targeted smoking, drunken driving and littering.

Our goal is to build a more news-literate nation, and in turn, a more robust, equitable democracy.

EVERYONE

Join the RumorGuard

RumorGuard email alerts give you timely reminders to help push back against viral misinformation. Subscribe now to champion news literacy across your social media feeds!

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The News Literacy Project is a 501(c)(3) educational organization. All our programs are nonpartisan and independent.

EDUCATORS

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Reports from the field

Check out these stories about news literacy and National News Literacy Week

Video: News literacy's impact at an Iowa high school

An educator and some of his students provide their professional and personal perspectives on news literacy education.

Read Report

2021, the year in misinformation

Last year delivered a dizzying amount of misinformation, so we revisited some of the troubling trends and examples and provided news literacy takeaways.

Read Report

FOR EVERYONE

Checkology® can help you tell the difference between fact and fiction.

What is Checkology?