Beyond Media Education: Assessing News Media Literacy in Media Students of Public and Private Universities in Pakistan

Mariam Ikram, Bushra Hameedur Rahman


Infiltration of mass media has increased the exigency of tools necessary for countering the hazardous effects of mass media. Media literacy is considered a tool essential in the 21st century for a democratic society that aims to empower the audience and provides autonomy over mass media messages. Media education plays a significant role in educating media students about theoretical and practical knowledge about media industries. The researcher has employed the “Cognitive Model of Media Literacy” proposed by Potter (2004) and seven skills of media literacy suggested by Potter (2019), particularly as related to news content. News media is supposed to be highly objective, but highlighting some news while neglecting others raises questions about the objectivity of news media. The study intends to explore the standard of media education in Pakistan in imparting news media literacy among media students enrolled in BS and Master’s degree programs. To analyze the level of theoretical and practical knowledge of media students regarding news media and their level of news literacy skills, the researcher has collected data using a cross-sectional survey of 300 students (N=300) enrolled in two public and two private universities in Pakistan, including 200 media students and 100 non-media students. Moreover, through content analysis of the curriculum of media studies mentioned in the prospectus of BS and Master’s degree programs, the standard of media education in Pakistan is also assessed. The study’s findings suggest that media students are more news media literate than non-media students, highlighting the significance of media education. Similarly, consciously and excessively consuming news media also positively affects the level of news media literacy in media students. Moreover, this study suggests that while performing information processing tasks, media students are equipped with skills to perform the task of news filtering comparatively better than meaning construction tasks. However, content analysis of the curriculum reveals that the majority of the courses related to news content focus on theoretical and practical knowledge while neglecting the significance of incorporating analytical courses crucial to harness critical thinking skills. The findings elucidate that universities offering analytical courses in their BS and Master levels scored higher in their news media literacy than those not offering analytical courses. Therefore, the study suggests the incorporation of analytical courses at BS and Master level media education curricula to develop essential skills for performing meaning construction tasks effectively.


Analytical Courses. Critical Thinking Skills. Curriculum. Media Education. Media Literacy. News Media. News Media Literacy. News Literacy Skills.