News consumption of political stories not enough to retain political knowledge

September 25, 2012, University of Missouri-Columbia

A strong democracy depends on smart voters who choose their leaders based on their knowledge of important political issues. One of the ways that Americans learn about politics is by following the news. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri School of Journalism have found that simply following the news is not enough.

A panel survey involving more than 1,200 teenagers from 12 to 17 years of age found that adolescents learn more about politics when they think and talk about what they read or watch on the news. Edson Tandoc, a at MU, found that who spend more time thinking and talking about the news with their peers and relatives tend to know more about political developments in the country.

"This is important because an individual's political identity begins long before one is eligible to vote," Tandoc said. "Our is not shaped overnight and so it is important to start molding our future voters while they are still young."

Tandoc and his , Esther Thorson, a professor and associate dean for graduate studies and research in the MU School of Journalism, analyzed two surveys conducted six months apart. The first survey, conducted six months before the 2008 presidential elections, asked teenagers how frequently they followed the news, how much they thought about the news, and how often they discussed with their peers and relatives. The second survey conducted right after the elections asked the same teenagers several questions about politics to measure their levels of .

What Tandoc found is that news consumption does not directly lead to political knowledge. Instead, news consumption leads to thinking about the news which then leads to engagement in discussions about the news, which finally ends with political learning.

"Engaging teenagers in the political process is vital for the future of democracy," Tandoc said. "Our study shows that if parents and educators want to increase political knowledge and action among younger generations, it is important to involve them in discussions about what they are reading in the news. Just giving them a story to read is not enough. Teenagers need to be able to think through and talk about political issues in order to retain knowledge about them."

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not rated yet Sep 25, 2012

A couple points, Fox news followers in studies actually knew less about the news that others who watched no news at all!!!

Next John Stewart get them thinking by mocking, satire helps those remember.
1 / 5 (3) Sep 25, 2012
So listening to propaganda (not only Fox, but Reuters and the entire corporate media clique) will not make you more knowledgeable? Who'da thunk it?
1 / 5 (2) Sep 25, 2012
LOL so Americans must now spend unlimited hours descrambling news messages to learn what is safe to think. It is the stagnation time of the CCCP 1980s now for USA, prior to mass realization that system is no longer workable with future president exporting all jobs and money out of USA setting an example for all Americans to follow.

Maybe Soros will step in and crush the US dollar as he did the rouble. That will be his crowning achievement for the Bank of England.
1 / 5 (3) Sep 28, 2012
to bad - in fact pitiful that we get more balanced views from RT - Press TV than all of MSM - if you really want a great compilation of news go to - Peace

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