News: these are the headlines

Things used to be simple: you would receive the daily news via the tv, radio or newspaper. But the prevalence of the internet means that news is now available literally anywhere and at all times. It makes assessing the news critically and consciously more important than ever. That all starts with a good understanding of news. What is news exactly? How is it made? How do youngsters deal with news? Find the answers to these questions and many more in this dossier.

Want to know more about fake news? Read our extensive dossier on fake news.

What is news (literacy)?

News is current information about what is happening in the world. There’s a lot of news that happens every day, but that doesn’t mean everything makes the news. On the other hand, sometimes you might think something is news, when it’s really fake news. That’s why it’s important to work on news literacy, to make sure you can understand and use news.

  • What makes something ‘news’?

How do you know whether something is or isn’t news? Discover whether there’s a definition of news, and when something is news-worthy. 

What is news?

  • What is news literacy?

News literacy is the skill of understanding and using news. Learn more about what that means exactly.

What is news literacy?

“News is a particular type of media content that calls for particular skills, such as estimating how truthful an article is, applying information techniques, and picking up on underlying political and ideological messages.”
Ike Picone
Prof. dr. Ike Picone

3 common questions about news

No, news does not have to be neutral. What’s more: news cannot be neutral. A journalist or editorial board always looks at the news through certain frames. In Belgium we look at the news through Western, democratic frames. This means that journalists automatically take a certain stance when they talk about things like human rights in China. While news does not need to be neutral, it should be unbiased. This means that journalists have a duty to tell the full story and provide enough context.

News literacy and trusting the news might seem like opposites. Those who are news literate will take a critical position and won’t blindly trust just any form of news. On the other hand we need to dare to trust news media to avoid seeking refuge in ‘alternative’ media, which tend to be rather careless with the truth. 51% of people in Flanders still trust news media today, which is a very good score compared to other European countries. Discover more numbers.

Yes, these days anyone can make and spread news. You don’t necessarily have to be a journalist. That’s mostly thanks to the internet and social media. Any citizen who witnesses an event can create a video and share it on social media, or write a report on a blog. Such witness accounts often appear in the ‘regular’ news as well. We call that citizen journalism. While anyone can make news, that doesn’t mean that it is always done in an objective, unbiased manner. That’s exactly why journalists still play an important role: they have been trained to report the news in the correct manner.

How news is made

Whether a journalist works for an online news website, the evening news broadcast or a newspaper, there isn’t such a big difference in the way the news is made. It always starts with a source, who provides the journalist with information about what has happened. But what happens next? And who has the most influence over the news: the source, or the journalist?

“It’s important to be aware of what is happening in society, but it’s even more important to consult various news sources. Knowing that there are multiple opinions about the same event is an invaluable skill.”
Kris Custers
Editorial mentor at StampMedia

News in the digital age

The digital age has shaken the news world and the way we consume news to its core. As is often the case with new trends, this has its benefits and downsides. Discover how the internet has changed the news and learn more about the impact of social media on our news consumption.

Children, youngsters and news

Children and youngsters tend to consume news differently from adults. Depending on age, the news can be very abstract to them, completely black and white, or essential to finding their own identity. Whichever the case, it’s important to talk to children and youngsters about news and to help them improve their media literacy.

The gap between news media and youngsters from a migration background

Youngsters from a migration background find that they are rarely represented in the news. That was the conclusion drawn from the dialogue project rePresent (2016), in which 208 youngsters entered into conversation with 12 journalists. Together they created 8 recommendations for news editors in order to bridge the gap between youngsters and news media

Who creates the news in Flanders?

The market for news media in Flanders is very small. That makes it hard for small brands to find enough subscribers and income from advertisers. Because of this, the Flemish newsscape is very concentrated: most news media are in the hands of a few large media corporations. Nonetheless, our region is blessed with a strong and high-quality news offering, also thanks to the important role of the public broadcaster.

News: more than just facts

The news contains more than just facts. It also involves images, numbers and advertisement. On top of that there is fake news, propaganda and conspiracy theories, all of which are closely related to news. This means that you can look at news from various angles, and we have created separate dossiers about each of those angles.

The facts on fake news


Through social media, we are increasingly confronted with fake news. Discover what fake news is and how to know if you’re dealing with fake news.

The world of conspiracy theories


Conspiracy theories are a type of fake news. Conspiracy theorists try to explain events by attributing them to a conspiracy.

Propaganda: the art of persuasion


Propaganda is information that is meant to convince you of something. You can find propaganda in advertising, films, and yes, also in the news.

Learn more

  • News in the Classroom

How do you provide education about news? Find tips, didactic materials and more.

  • StampMedia

StampMedia is an organisation that bridges the gap between youngsters and news.

  • Djapo

Djapo supports teachers with didactic materials and webinars around various themes, including current affairs.


Via WATWAT youngsters can find trustworthy answers to all sorts of questions about news.

  • Kruit

Kruit organises online and offline events about various themes related to world citizenship education.