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Trust in news media in a post-truth era : a study into the difference between online and offline news media among younger and older people

Ridder, Michel (2020) Trust in news media in a post-truth era : a study into the difference between online and offline news media among younger and older people.

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Abstract:Trust in news media is decreasing overall, affecting democracies. While an abundance of research in comparing social media news and mainstream news like newspapers is present, comparisons between trust in offline and online news media are lacking. There is also limited research on the influence of demographics on trust in news media. Age differences in particular are important, because of the high social media use as a news source of younger people and the lower consumption of newspapers by younger people compared to older people. The increased spread of fake news has made research into trust in news media even more compelling, as fake news has a proven impact on politics, with a fear of a much broader impact. Therefore, this study examined the differences in offline and online news media among younger and older people and looked into the possible effect of fake news on trust in news media. An online 2 (newspaper article vs. news website article) x 2 (younger people vs. older people) betweensubjects factor experiment was conducted among 162 participants. After exposure to the stimulus material in the form of either a fictional newspaper or news website article, participants answered questions regarding trust in news media, problem perception of fake news and news consumption. In contrast to many previous studies, trust was measured using a multilayered trust scale covering trust in; information, medium, source and the general propensity to trust. The results showed that younger people trust news websites significantly more than older people. While older people did not trust newspapers significantly more than younger people. Overall differences in trust between online and offline news media were not found. Regarding the problem perception of fake news, younger people had a significantly higher problem perception of fake news compared to older people. Problem perception of fake news also had negative associations with trust in information and trust in local news organizations. Studies suggesting higher trust in offline media included social media in measuring trust in online media, which could have significantly lowered trust in online news media based on the overall low trust in social media news. The insignificant difference in trust in newspapers among younger and older people could be explained by the non-existent connection of news consumption and trust in news media. A higher trust in newspapers for older people was assumed based on higher newspaper consumption by older people. However, this study has shown that alternative goals for news consumption like entertainment, diversion and identity needs might have become more important than trust. For problem perception of fake news, the negative association with trust in information and trust in local news organizations suggest that fake news affects local sources more, rather than the media in general.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Clients:
Unknown organization, Deutschland
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/85425
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