On the Pew Research Center's widely discussed News IQ Quiz, I scored 13 out of 13 — higher than 92% of the rest of the responders. I'm not bragging. I expect every member of PolicyMic to perform well — after all, what else do we do here but discuss news and current events?
We may have differing opinions regarding our interpretation of the news, but recognizing photographs of significant politicians, corporate logos or international flags, and locating important rival countries on a map is an exercise in the recollection of factual information. Facts don't change depending on our individual points of view, so we can agree upon them as reference points.
Take the Pew Quiz and see how you do compared to the rest of American news consumers. In addition to the 13 questions on the quiz, you will be asked some "demographic" questions: your gender, age, and highest level of educational achievement. At the end of the quiz, on your Results page, you can see all the breakouts.
It turns out that — without giving quiz answers away — demographics have some bearing on how much Americans know about news. By and large, education counts. Those with high school diplomas and higher got more right answers across the board.
Age appeared to be an advantage, too: With the exception of a single question (not going to reveal which one), the older the respondent, the more likely he/she was to have given a correct answer. Interestingly enough, there does appear to be a "Gender Gap" — more favorable to men in all except two cases — one of which involves global economics.
What does all this mean? It's hard to say— at this point — again, without giving away the answers to a quiz that some of you might want to take and discuss. One thing to remember is that the Pew quiz is intended for Americans. A British friend took it and while he scored perfectly on all of the international questions, recognizing our elected officials was difficult for him.
Last week, much of the commentary on my article, "15 News Organizations Worthy of Respect" revolved around how much interlocutors disprespected the New York Times, Mother Jones, or the Christian Science Monitor because they disagreed with those publications' editorial opinions.
I attempted in my responses to distinguish among the Editorial Page, Op-ed and factual news reporting — and to illustrate the high journalistic standards which, over a long period of time, the publications I listed have maintained. That long-term effort to hunt down the facts of the news — the stuff which Pew is asking you to remember and to measure as your "News IQ" — and to publish them separate from the varnish of opinion is what earns respect in the world of journalism.
So, to bring this full circle, cudgel your brains for the facts as you find out what your News IQ might be. I expect very great things from all of your collective tenure on PolicyMic!