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2015 IUPUI Research Day

News and Civic Literacy; What’s the Connection?

Authors: Whitney Fields, graduate research assistant and MPA candidate

Rachel Thelin, project manager and senior policy analyst

Sheila Suess Kennedy, director and professor

IU Center for Civic Literacy, School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

The Center for Civic Literacy (CCL) at IUPUI is a Signature Center Grant recipient. CCL is a multi-disciplinary research center established to examine the causes and dimensions of Americans’ low levels of civic knowledge, and to investigate the consequences of personal, social, and political civic ignorance. CCL takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the causes and effects of deficits in civic literacy, while also examining best practices that  combat civic deficits across sectors of society, including public affairs, science, education, business, and healthcare.

The latest project from the center investigates how low levels of civic and news literacy intersect; what’s the connection and why does it matter?  A study from America University states, “news habits tend to be formed early; if young people turn away from the news, it may lead to a less informed citizenry and make it less likely that there will be a critical mass of news consumers to sustain the high-quality journalism and information production crucial to a healthy democracy” (Hayes, 2014, p.222).  The center is currently gathering such research to make the case for an IPS program in high schools which would teach both news and civic literacy.

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