Online News: Gateway to the Credibility Unicorn

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Communications Management


Dennis F. Kinsey


Credibility in media, Online newspapers, Traditional newspaper

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Credibility as it relates to news media has long been an area of interest and study. As a key media selection factor, it is important to understand how credibility impacts media organizations and the news consumer. The advent of online news added yet another dimension to the study of how news consumers perceive credibility and the effect that perception has on that particular medium. Previous research considered the credibility of newspapers, the credibility of broadcast news and the credibility of blogs, this paper explores the credibility of online news, specifically online newspapers, as compared to the credibility of print newspapers. The ability for anyone with internet access to upload anything for public consumption was at first considered rouge news, primarily due to the lack of editorial control. However, this paper explores the idea that the very characteristics inherent to online news, such as hyperlinks and video directly contribute to credibility. The experiment for this paper researched the credibility perceptions of American news consumers when considering the same news story in a print newspaper format and in an online newspaper format. This study subsequently reviews the implications of understanding what elements contribute to the perception of credibility.


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