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  1. 1. Accept No Substitutes!...Well, MaybeAccept No Substitutes!...Well, Maybe Some: Online Political InformationSome: Online Political Information Credibility and Media SubstitutionCredibility and Media Substitution Accept No Substitutes!...Well, MaybeAccept No Substitutes!...Well, Maybe Some: Online Political InformationSome: Online Political Information Credibility and Media SubstitutionCredibility and Media Substitution Thomas J. Johnson, Ph.D. Amon G. Carter, Jr. Centennial Professor University of Texas at Austin Barbara K. Kaye, Ph.D. University of Tennessee at Knoxville Aimee Meader University of Texas at Austin
  2. 2. Media Substitution TheoryMedia Substitution TheoryMedia Substitution TheoryMedia Substitution Theory If two media are functionally equivalent and serve the same purpose consumers will select the one that best meets their needs (substitution) Media Supplementation TheoryMedia Supplementation Theory If individuals see different media as serving different functions they will use both media to gratify their different needs (supplementation)
  3. 3. Problem StatementProblem Statement This study investigates whether perceptions of credibility of alternative sources affect judgments of credibility and the amount of time spent on traditionally delivered sources (broadcast television news and newspapers) after controlling for demographic and political variables.
  4. 4. Alternative Sources ofAlternative Sources of NewsNews Alternative Sources ofAlternative Sources of NewsNews *Political Sites *Political Blogs *Parody News Shows * Talk Radio
  5. 5. Characteristics of Alternative MediaCharacteristics of Alternative MediaCharacteristics of Alternative MediaCharacteristics of Alternative Media *Powered by ordinary citizens rather than by professionals *Challenge existing power structures *Provide a platform for the views of citizen groups *Solicit feedback through open forums *Attempt to mobilize citizens through in-depth politicized social commentary
  6. 6. Alternative MediaAlternative MediaAlternative MediaAlternative Media *Appeals to niche audience *Attracts like-minded followers Messages judged of higher quality Messages judged more credible *Credibility could increase with more exposure Reliance linked with perceived trustworthiness
  7. 7. Research QuestionsResearch QuestionsResearch QuestionsResearch Questions RQ1: To what degree does credibility of alternative sources (political websites, political blogs, parody news programs and talk radio) influence credibility of traditionally delivered newspapers and broadcast television news after controlling for political and demographic variables? RQ2: To what degree does credibility of alternative sources (political websites, political blogs, parody news programs and talk radio) influence the amount of the time spent with traditionally delivered newspapers and broadcast television news after controlling for political and demographic variables?
  8. 8. Study VariablesStudy VariablesStudy VariablesStudy Variables Media Credibility: Believability, fairness, accuracy, and depth of information. Time Spent with Traditional Media Political Attributes Knowledge about and interest in politics Knowledge about and interest in the 2008 presidential campaign Demographics Age Income Education Gender
  9. 9. RegressionsRegressionsRegressionsRegressions The dependent variables were credibility and reliance on traditional media
  10. 10. For Both Regressions…For Both Regressions…For Both Regressions…For Both Regressions… Block One: Gender, age, education, income Block Two: Political interest, political knowledge, election interest, election knowledge, trust, self-efficacy, political ideology, strength of party ties Block Three: Credibility of alternative sources (political sites, political blogs, parody news programs, talk radio)
  11. 11. Credibility of Traditional &Credibility of Traditional & Alternative MediaAlternative Media Credibility of Traditional &Credibility of Traditional & Alternative MediaAlternative Media *Political blogs are ranked the most credible source for political news (m=12.3 credibility index, range 4-20) *Political websites as the next highest in credibility (m=11.7). *Traditionally delivered newspapers (m=10.7) *Talk radio (m=9.9) *Parody news programs (m=8.9) *Broadcast television news (m=8.9)
  12. 12. Do perceptions of credibility of alternative sources of political news predict credibility of traditional sources of news? Do perceptions of credibility of alternative sources of political news predict credibility of traditional sources of news? Broadcast Television News Credibility is positively influenced by credibility of parody news programs (β=.37, p<.001) and talk radio (β=.07, p<.001) Credibility is negatively predicted by the credibility of political blogs (β=-.13, p<.001
  13. 13. Do perceptions of credibility of alternative sources of political news predict credibility of traditional sources of news? Do perceptions of credibility of alternative sources of political news predict credibility of traditional sources of news? Newspapers Judgments of high credibility of printed newspapers is predicted by high credibility of parody news programs (β=.39, p<.00) Higher judgments of credibility of political sites (β=-.07, p<.001) and political blogs (β=-.04, p<.05) lead to lower assessments of newspaper credibility.
  14. 14. Time Spent with Traditional MediaTime Spent with Traditional Media Broadcast TV News Higher levels of credibility of parody news shows (β=.16, p<.001) and talk radio (β=.05, p<.01), but lower credibility of political blogs (β=-.20 p<.001), lead to more time spent watching broadcast television news. Newspapers The amount of time spent with newspapers is predicted by high credibility of parody news sites (β=.21, p<.001), but low credibility of political blogs (β=-.13, p<.001).
  15. 15. Political WebsitesPolitical Websites Credibility of political websites had no influence on time spent with traditional media Respondents who deem parody news programs as highly credible have increased the amount of time they spend watching broadcast television news and reading printed newspapers Parody NewsParody News Talk Radio Talk radio has no effect on time spent with newspapers. Talk radio is not at substitute for newspapers Talk radio credibility increases time spent with broadcast news
  16. 16. RegressionsRegressionsRegressionsRegressions Do perceptions of credibility of alternative sources of political information predict credibility of traditional media? YES Do credibility assessments of alternative sources of political information influence time spent with traditional media? YES: Parody News NO: Talk Radio & Political Websites
  17. 17. Traditional Sources ofTraditional Sources of NewsNews Traditional Sources ofTraditional Sources of NewsNews People have reduced the amount of time they spend watching television news and reading printed newspapers since they began using the Internet.
  18. 18. Future Studies & LimitationsFuture Studies & Limitations Reverse Order? Drops in credibility and time spent with traditional media might boost credibility of alternative news sources Brand vs. Genre: It is unclear, whether respondents were judging the credibility of brand sources, such as Huffington Post or New York Times, rather than the genre. Future Studies: Researchers should include additional sources of political information, such as social network sites and news aggregators

Editor's Notes

  • Media substitution effects only occur with functionally similar media. Reliance may be particularly important in regard to alternative sources and credibility. If consumers use alternative media as a substitute for traditional sources, their exposure to alternative sources will increase, and then accordingly, perceptions of credibility for these alternative sources should improve
  • Alternative are generally those that differ from traditional ones in terms of content, audience interaction, and adherence to journalistic values
  • Political blogs offer a citizen-based perspective and constitute a platform for public discourse
    Political blogs and political websites offer political perspectives that range from extremist positions
    Parody news shows and talk radio provide perspectives that challenge the status quo, belittle government officials and traditional media, and rouse their viewers to take civic action
  • If consumers use alternative media as a substitute for traditional sources, their exposure to alternative sources will increase
  • In general, both broadcast television news and printed newspaper credibility is connected to perceptions of high credibility of parody television news, whereas judgments of high credibility of talk radio influences the credibility of only broadcast television. Traditional media credibility is also linked to judgments of low credibility of political blogs and websites.
  • If readers of political blogs feel that they cannot trust what they read there, they are more likely spend time reading a newspaper. Conversely, the more they believe political blogs, the less time they spend reading newspapers.
  • Respondents have not reduced their time with traditional media in favor of political sites, thus, political sites are not viewed as a functional equivalent to newspapers and broadcast television. Because political sites do not take time away from traditional media, they are not substitutes.
    Parody shows like The Colbert Report do not steal time from mainstream media, but motivate viewers to spend more time with them.
  • Nearly three-quarters of this study’s politically interested Internet users spend less time watching broadcast television news programs and slightly more than two thirds claim to spend less time reading newspapers.
  • credibility of alternative sources is predicted by time spent with traditional media. Increased time with broadcast television and printed newspapers predicts lower perceptions of credibility of political blogs and political websites. The longer respondents stick with traditional media, the more likely they are to view political blogs and websites in a negative light. Conversely, the longer respondents spend reading newspapers, the more favorably they view the credibility of parody news programs.
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