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Perceived Credibility of Mainstream Newspapers and Facebook
Unformatted Document Text:  Running Head: Credibility in Newspapers and Facebook 3 journalism has become less of a source of information while blogs and other online sites have assumed new gatekeeping functions (Zelizer, 2008). The question of perceived credibility on the Internet may ultimately prove more important to the sustainability of media outlets than issues like paid subscription models and online advertising revenue. For, as newspapers discovered centuries ago, without credibility there is no distinct brand – and without a brand, there are no subscribers or advertisers. This quandary leads to a number of questions that are important to media outlets as well as researchers. Are online readers still able to view newspapers as a distinct and credible entity? Do they distinguish between the credibility of professional outlets as compared to citizen blogs and other online information sources? And what role do social networks play in this process of assessing credibility? If an individual is assessing the credibility of a story posted on a social-network site, what is he or she assessing: the publication that produced the story – or the person that posted it? In other words, what is the importance of audience in this process? Media outlets have been striving to utilize social media sites in the transmission of news, but much of that effort is still modeled on traditional sender-receiver models – with reporters, for example, tweeting news through Twitter accounts. However, media outlets have not really sought to take full advantage of social networks to help with the distribution of their product and perhaps even to enhance the credibility of their brand. One reason may be that there has been a relative dearth of research concerning the role of the audience in that process. The purpose of this study was to examine the role that social networks may play in the perceived credibility of news – or more specifically to look at whether an individual may

Authors: Nynka, Andrew. and McCaffrey, Raymond.
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Running Head: Credibility in Newspapers and Facebook                      3 
journalism has become less of a source of information while blogs and other online sites have 
assumed new gatekeeping functions (Zelizer, 2008).   
     The question of perceived credibility on the Internet may ultimately prove more important to 
the sustainability of media outlets than issues like paid subscription models and online 
advertising revenue. For, as newspapers discovered centuries ago, without credibility there is no 
distinct brand – and without a brand, there are no subscribers or advertisers. This quandary leads 
to a number of questions that are important to media outlets as well as researchers. Are online 
readers still able to view newspapers as a distinct and credible entity? Do they distinguish 
between the credibility of professional outlets as compared to citizen blogs and other online 
information sources? And what role do social networks play in this process of assessing 
credibility? If an individual is assessing the credibility of a story posted on a social-network site, 
what is he or she assessing: the publication that produced the story – or the person that posted it? 
In other words, what is the importance of audience in this process?  
     Media outlets have been striving to utilize social media sites in the transmission of news, but 
much of that effort is still modeled on traditional sender-receiver models – with reporters, for 
example, tweeting news through Twitter accounts. However, media outlets have not really 
sought to take full advantage of social networks to help with the distribution of their product and 
perhaps even to enhance the credibility of their brand. One reason may be that there has been a 
relative dearth of research concerning the role of the audience in that process.  
     The purpose of this study was to examine the role that social networks may play in the 
perceived credibility of news – or more specifically to look at whether an individual may 

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