Winter, S., & Krämer, N.C. (2014). A question of credibility – Effects of source cues and recommendations on information selection on news sites and blogs. Communications – The European Journal of Communication Research, 39(4), 435-456. doi:10.1515/commun-2014-0020

Abstract: Internet users have access to a multitude of science-related information – on journalistic news sites but also on blogs with user-generated content. In this context, we investigated the factors which influence laypersons’ selective exposure in two studies (N = 101). In an experiment with a collection of online news, parents were asked to search for information about the controversy surrounding violence in the media. Texts from high-reputation sources were clicked on more frequently – regardless of content –, whereas ratings by others had limited effects. In a second experiment, expertise and gender of blog authors as well as valence and number of ratings were varied. In this setting, texts from sources with positive ratings were read for longer. Results show that laypersons make use of credibility cues when deciding which articles to read. For online news sites, media reputation is most important, whereas in blogs, ratings are taken into account more frequently.

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