© Media Watch 8 (2) 126-142, 2017
ISSN 0976-0911 e-ISSN 2249-8818
Incivility, Source and Credibility: An Experimental Test of News Story Processing in the Digital Age
Y WU & E. THORSON
University of Missouri, USA
The “civility crisis” has been a big concern in the U.S. and abroad at least since the 1990s. Evidence suggested that uncivil attacks in political discourse have a negative impact on political trust. Administering an online survey with an experiment embedded in it, the study seeks to find out whether source and uncivil commentary in a news story have an effect on the level of credibility of a news story. A 3 (Source: newspaper, blog, student’s class writing) x 2 (Incivility: civil and uncivil) mixed subjects design online survey was administered via Qualtrics on a sample of students (N = 438) in a large Midwestern State University. The data suggested incivility was a significant predictor of news credibility, including message credibility and news organization credibility. A negative association was found between perceived incivility and news credibility.
Keywords: Incivility, source, credibility, digital journalism
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Yanfang Wu is a doctoral candidate at the School of Journalism, University of Missouri, USA. Her research interests lie at the intersection of social media, convergence journalism, and engagement.
Dr. Esther Thorson is a professor in journalism at the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Michigan State University, USA. She is also associated with School of Journalism, University of Missouri. Please write the research interest of Dr. Thorson.