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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:  22 multimedia content showed that increased modality led to lower perceived message credibility among those using interactive content. Finally, increased modality translated into higher message credibility for those who did not use it. As a consequence, online news producers would be wise to integrate some combination of multimedia elements and identified sources in certain instances, but not in all. In addition to such applied issues, this study points towards some noteworthy conceptual implications. For example, defining interactivity as modality seems to impact how people process online news when users’ participation is considered, but additional features of the concept need to be probed. Specifically, looking at the role of modality and links seems like a promising starting point for future research in this area. Also, given the central role of participation, drawing on definitions of interactivity that emphasize user control also seems appropriate (e.g., Steuer, 1992; Downes & McMillan, 2000). The observed impact of participation provides an opportunity to build bridges among various research streams studying new media. The relevant interpersonal CMC research mentioned in the literature review may be critical here. For example, social information processing theory offers a useful explanatory framework for understanding how perceptions of online news credibility are impacted by participation. Just as this research has shown that people tend to increase their trust of other people the longer and more frequently they communicate with them online (e.g., Walther & Burgoon, 1992), similar patterns may emerge the longer and more frequently people use multimedia content on news Web sites. The present study only examined a one-time experience, but future studies probing multiple visits could develop this idea further.

Authors: Kiousis, Spiro.
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multimedia content showed that increased modality led to lower perceived message
credibility among those using interactive content. Finally, increased modality translated
into higher message credibility for those who did not use it. As a consequence, online
news producers would be wise to integrate some combination of multimedia elements
and identified sources in certain instances, but not in all.
In addition to such applied issues, this study points towards some noteworthy
conceptual implications. For example, defining interactivity as modality seems to impact
how people process online news when users’ participation is considered, but additional
features of the concept need to be probed. Specifically, looking at the role of modality
and links seems like a promising starting point for future research in this area. Also,
given the central role of participation, drawing on definitions of interactivity that
emphasize user control also seems appropriate (e.g., Steuer, 1992; Downes & McMillan,
2000).
The observed impact of participation provides an opportunity to build bridges
among various research streams studying new media. The relevant interpersonal CMC
research mentioned in the literature review may be critical here. For example, social
information processing theory offers a useful explanatory framework for understanding
how perceptions of online news credibility are impacted by participation. Just as this
research has shown that people tend to increase their trust of other people the longer and
more frequently they communicate with them online (e.g., Walther & Burgoon, 1992),
similar patterns may emerge the longer and more frequently people use multimedia
content on news Web sites. The present study only examined a one-time experience, but
future studies probing multiple visits could develop this idea further.


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