Research: Online News Portals Get Credibility Boost From Trusted Sources
From Penn St. University:
When readers access a story from a credible news source they trust through an online portal, they also tend to trust the portal, said S. Shyam Sundar, Distinguished Professor of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory. Most of these portals use computers, not people, to automatically sort and post stories.
Sundar said this transfer of credibility provides online news portals — Yahoo News and Google News — with most of the benefits, but with little of the costs associated with online publishing.
“A news portal that uses stories from a credible source gets a boost in credibility and might even make money through advertising,” said Sundar. “However, if there is a lawsuit for spreading false information, for example, it’s unlikely that the portal will be named in the suit.”
The researchers, who reported their findings in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, asked a group of 231 students to read online news stories. After reading the stories, the students rated the credibility of the original source and the portal.
The researchers placed banners from Google News, which served as a high credibility portal, and the Drudge Report, which served as a low-credibility portal, on the pages. They also added banners to identify the New York Times — the high-credibility source — and the National Enquirer — the low-credibility source.
The students were significantly more likely to consider a portal credible if the source of the story was trustworthy. The credibility of the portal suffered if the source lacked trustworthiness.
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See Also: Research Paper: “Tweeting is Believing? Understanding Microblog Credibility Perceptions”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.