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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:  1 Equal Trust: An Experiment Exploring the Impact of Interactivity and Sources on Individuals’ Perceptions of Credibility for Online News Stories Introduction The concept of interactivity has received considerable scrutiny over the last 20 years from communication scholars, particularly with the rise of the Internet and World Wide Web (e.g., Ha & James, 1998; McMillan, 2000; Pearce, 1997; Meadow, 1998). In journalism, the technological advancements generated from computer-mediated communication (CMC) have led to the quick emergence of online news as an integral part of most major media outlets today (Kenney, Gorelik, Mwangi, 2000; Meyer, 1999). For example, Brill (1997) reported that from 1995 to 1997 the number of online newspapers jumped from a few dozen to well over 1,000. Furthermore, Meyer (1999) indicated that by 1998 the number had increased to nearly 5,000 around the globe. Despite this influx, little is known about how changes in interactivity impact people’s perceptions of the information they receive on the Web. In particular, perceptions of credibility — which are central to how news from any medium is judged — have yet to be examined when levels of interactivity on news Web sites are manipulated. A key dimension of interactivity that has been highlighted in prior research (but not within the context of online news credibility) and that the current project investigates is modality (e.g., Hutheesing, 1993). Along with the possible influence of interactivity, traditional investigations on credibility have also noted that the sources behind and within communication messages are paramount to people's impressions of what messages they deem trustworthy and accurate (Hovland, Janis, & Kelley, 1953; Hovland & Weiss, 1951). Indeed, research is

Authors: Kiousis, Spiro.
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1
Equal Trust: An Experiment Exploring the Impact of Interactivity and Sources on
Individuals’ Perceptions of Credibility for Online News Stories
Introduction
The concept of interactivity has received considerable scrutiny over the last 20 years
from communication scholars, particularly with the rise of the Internet and World Wide
Web (e.g., Ha & James, 1998; McMillan, 2000; Pearce, 1997; Meadow, 1998). In
journalism, the technological advancements generated from computer-mediated
communication (CMC) have led to the quick emergence of online news as an integral
part of most major media outlets today (Kenney, Gorelik, Mwangi, 2000; Meyer, 1999).
For example, Brill (1997) reported that from 1995 to 1997 the number of online
newspapers jumped from a few dozen to well over 1,000. Furthermore, Meyer (1999)
indicated that by 1998 the number had increased to nearly 5,000 around the globe.
Despite this influx, little is known about how changes in interactivity impact people’s
perceptions of the information they receive on the Web. In particular, perceptions of
credibility — which are central to how news from any medium is judged — have yet to
be examined when levels of interactivity on news Web sites are manipulated. A key
dimension of interactivity that has been highlighted in prior research (but not within the
context of online news credibility) and that the current project investigates is modality
(e.g., Hutheesing, 1993).
Along with the possible influence of interactivity, traditional investigations on
credibility have also noted that the sources behind and within communication messages
are paramount to people's impressions of what messages they deem trustworthy and
accurate (Hovland, Janis, & Kelley, 1953; Hovland & Weiss, 1951). Indeed, research is


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