This study tests the proposition that hostile interpretations of media content can be reduced through news media literacy training. Within the context of the controversy over the adoption of biofuels as an energy source, we employ a web-based experimental design that manipulates subjects’ exposure to media literacy training and then presents them with news coverage on the issue of biofuels. We find strong support for the notion that media literacy affects individuals’ perceptions of media credibility. Exposure to a media literacy video led to increased ratings of story credibility, as well as increased trust in the media to cover both the issue and the news more broadly. Implications of these results are discussed.
Modifying perceptions of hostility and credibility of news coverage of an environmental controversy through media literacy