Following the 2016 election—and the tsunami of digital disinformation it had loosed upon the world—we surveyed more than eighteen hundred people about their knowledge of news gathering and reporting procedures: everything from the placement of editorials in mainstream outlets to the purpose of news anchors and press releases. Procedural news knowledge is dispersed; some people know more than others about actual news practices. The role such knowledge plays in assessing suspect content is clear: according to our responses, the more people know about the media, the better they are able to identify and resist online disinformation efforts, including fabricated headlines and covert advertising attempts. As we conclude in our recently published study, citizens who have a developed understanding of how news is constructed and how mainstream media operate are better able to detect untruth online.
In two national surveys, we asked US adults to answer questions about the practices of institutions that produce news, editorial procedures that generate content, and distinctions between news gathering and advocacy. Although two out of three respondents knew that most media outlets in the US are for-profit businesses, 18 percent admitted they did not. The remaining respondents thought most US media are either owned by the government (8 percent) or are non-profit businesses (7 percent). When asked in what section a newspaper’s editorial staff endorses candidates and expresses opinions about current events, 62 percent selected the correct answer: the editorial page. Sixty-nine percent of respondents
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/analysis/news-knowledge-as-inoculation.php