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Journalism Information Literacy Framework

Background of the Development of this Framework

The original Information Literacy Competency Standards for Journalism Students and Professionals was implemented by the ACRL Education and Behavioral Sciences Section’s Communication Studies Committee in October 2011, after an extensive review of the literature and consultation with communication and journalism faculty as well as professional journalism organizations. In light of technological innovations and media convergence, the original document acknowledged the rapidly changing field of journalism and its subsequent impact on journalism education, while taking into account related literacies such as data, visual, news, and media. 

Shortly after the adoption of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education in 2015, the ACRL EBSS Communication Studies Committee began compiling a list of “stuck places” -- instances where journalism students and practitioners seemingly have trouble finding, evaluating and using information in their reporting -- attempting to map them to each of the Framework’s threshold concepts. Assignment prompts were also reviewed. Based on those stuck places, definitions were initially drafted on what constituted an expert within each frame. 

In an attempt to further delineate novice and expert behaviors, additional research was conducted in 2018 involving semi-structured, in-depth interviews with journalism students, faculty, and practitioners on their own information-seeking behaviors. The interviews were analyzed and coded against the six frames using meaning condensation followed by content analysis. Attention was also given to the perceived skill level of novices, intermediates, and experts. 

These six frames form the backbone of this companion document, which seeks to further tailor the Framework to the practice of journalism.


Garczynski, J. (2017, October 4). Why research matters to journalists. News Media Alliance.

Boss, K. E., De Voe, K. M., Gilbert, S. R., Hernandez, C., Heuer, M., Hines, A., …Williams, K. E. (2019). Reporting in the “post-truth” era: Uncovering the research behaviors of journalism students, practitioners, and faculty. In D. M. Mueller (Ed.), Recasting the Narrative: Proceedings from Association of College & Research Libraries (pp. 730-744). Chicago, IL: Association of College & Research Libraries. ReportinginthePost-TruthEra.pdf

More Background Information


Jen Bonnet, University of Maine
Kristina M. De Voe, Temple University
Stacy Gilbert, University of Colorado Boulder
Carolina Hernandez, University of Houston
Megan Heuer, Southern Methodist University
Kyung Kim, Florida State University
Hillary Ostermiller, Columbia College Chicago
Michael Pasqualoni, Syracuse University
Rayla Tokarz, University of Nevada