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Knight Foundation Backs Facebook Youth News Experiment

This from a Knight Foundation news release:

University of Minnesota researcher Christine Greenhow and Seattle-based news aggregator News Cloud will test new ways to engage youth in news and information by launching two social media publications on the popular social networking site Facebook. The project is being made possible by a $249,529 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

University researchers, led by Greenhow, will investigate how online social network sites like Facebook can engage youth in world events, build community and generate real world impact. Greenhow’s previous work investigated the learning benefits of online social networking sites (MySpace , Facebook) for teenagers.

Here is more:

The study, which will be published next year, will seek to discover which strategies work best to engage 16 to 25 year-olds in current events and how the Internet can be used to deliver educational materials in innovative and effective ways.

Facebook was chosen because it has 120 million active members and is the most-trafficked social media site in the world. More than 85 percent of four-year U.S. university students use Facebook, making it an ideal space in which to gather this data.

The first Facebook publication, which will be produced in partnership with online environmental magazine Grist.org, is focused on climate change. The second publication will provide news sharing and community features for Minnesota students.

The impetus for the study:

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, the proportion of young people getting no news on a typical day has increased from 25 to 34 percent since 1998.

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