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Equal Trust: An Experiment Exploring the Impact of Interactivity and Sources on Individuals' Perceptions of Credibility for Online News Stories
Unformatted Document Text:  9 Bailey, Gurak, & Konstan, 2001), suggesting they are positively associated. In this study, we manipulate source identification with the presence/absence of a byline in news stories. Credibility As powerful as the concept of source has been to communication theory, the concept of credibility has equally been essential to our knowledge concerning how people process media messages. Two broad types of credibility studies have historically pervaded the literature: source and medium credibility (Kiousis, 2001). In the first, variations in communicator qualities are thought to shape how people judge media messages (e.g., O’Keefe, 1990). In the second, variations in the qualities of media channels themselves are thought to impact impressions of media messages (e.g., Gunther, 1992). Some crucial distinctions in measuring perceptions of credibility lie in differentiating among perceptions of identified sources in messages, perceptions of channels through which messages travel, and perceptions of messages themselves. Similar to what Iyengar and Valentino (1999) state about political advertisements — "unlike social psychological literature, which typically treats source and message characteristics as unrelated, we argue that credible political advertising depends jointly upon who makes a statement and what is said" (pp. 110; emphasis added) — we believe similar distinctions are required when considering the credibility of news. While few studies have conceptually made these distinctions, they often do so empirically. In particular, when Gaziano and McGrath (1986) engendered a credibility scale for newspapers and television, their focus was on media channels rather than on identified sources. On the other hand, when Berlo, Lemert, and Mertz (1970) asked

Authors: Kiousis, Spiro.
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9
Bailey, Gurak, & Konstan, 2001), suggesting they are positively associated. In this
study, we manipulate source identification with the presence/absence of a byline in news
stories.
Credibility
As powerful as the concept of source has been to communication theory, the concept of
credibility has equally been essential to our knowledge concerning how people process
media messages. Two broad types of credibility studies have historically pervaded the
literature: source and medium credibility (Kiousis, 2001). In the first, variations in
communicator qualities are thought to shape how people judge media messages (e.g.,
O’Keefe, 1990). In the second, variations in the qualities of media channels themselves
are thought to impact impressions of media messages (e.g., Gunther, 1992).
Some crucial distinctions in measuring perceptions of credibility lie in
differentiating among perceptions of identified sources in messages, perceptions of
channels through which messages travel, and perceptions of messages themselves.
Similar to what Iyengar and Valentino (1999) state about political advertisements —
"unlike social psychological literature, which typically treats source and message
characteristics as unrelated, we argue that credible political advertising depends jointly
upon who makes a statement and what is said" (pp. 110; emphasis added) — we believe
similar distinctions are required when considering the credibility of news. While few
studies have conceptually made these distinctions, they often do so empirically.
In particular, when Gaziano and McGrath (1986) engendered a credibility scale
for newspapers and television, their focus was on media channels rather than on
identified sources. On the other hand, when Berlo, Lemert, and Mertz (1970) asked


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