Knowing the difference between fact and fiction

Many factors contribute to news literacy. Digital savvy is one. So is trust in professional news.

Pew Research recently published data showing that people identify the differences between facts and opinion correctly when they trust the publisher of a story – not as much when they don’t trust the publisher.

“Almost four-in-ten Americans who have a lot of trust in the information from national news organizations (39%) correctly identified all five factual statements, compared with 18% of those who have not much or no trust”

Study respondents were shown statements: five factual, five opinions and two “borderline” statements. They were asked to determine if each was a factual statement (whether accurate or not) or an opinion statement (whether agreed with or not).

Some fascinating insights came out of the report. Pew says that when people “incorrectly classified factual statements as opinions, they most often disagreed with the statement.” The whole thing is worth a read if you care about news literacy.