In an era of fake news, information literacy has a role to play in journalism education in Ireland

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Courtney, Isabelle
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MSc Information and Library Management
Dublin Business School
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With the overabundance of information available now, Information Literacy skills are essential for today’s learners. Rooted in the field of Librarianship, Information Literacy encourages critical thinking – finding information, evaluating sources and forming opinions. The ability to evaluate information is imperative for all citizens but is of particular importance to students studying to be media professionals; these students will be the journalists of the future and will fill the roles of gatekeepers and arbitrators of forthcoming civic discourse. In the current era of fake news and misinformation, Information Literacy has a role to play within Journalism Education in Ireland. This dissertation examined six higher education institutions in Ireland who offer Honours BA in Journalism, Broadcasting and Media Studies and explored to what extent Information Literacy is being taught. It looked at the role of the academic librarian and the interaction between Journalism Faculties and their respective library. It discusses the overlaps of journalism and librarianship and the current discourses taking place in both subject fields regarding the proliferation of fake news within media today. It further examined the various initiatives taking place nationally and internationally in the area of media literacy and Metaliteracy. It found many similarities and overlaps in the current discourses from librarians and journalists with regard to fake news and general agreement that critical thinking and evaluation skills of students needed to improve to combat the rise of fake news. This research established that, there is poor communication and a low level of awareness of Information Literacy and other services offered by academic libraries within some Journalism and Media Faculties. It further found that journalism faculties perceive Information Literacy to be part of their remit as educators but often use different terms such as media literacy, fact-checking and verification skills. It identified an openness to the notion of a collaboration of librarians and journalism educators in formulating a bespoke Information Literacy module which can be embedded into journalism programmes, in an effort to raise the standard of future journalism.