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The challenges of credibility in open news systems

The challenges of credibility in open news systems
The challenges of credibility in open news systems
The news media play a number of important roles in a modern democratic society. However, with the press under increasing pressure to deliver news more quickly and with fewer resources, some readers are turning to non-traditional sources of news. These sources are often open to contribution from ordinary citizens as well as journalists,allowing for a wider range of backgrounds and experiences to be represented. Alternative news sources feature different styles of writing, publishing schedules, and topical focus than traditional providers which can result in people holding different perceptions of these outlets.

Due to the position of the news media in society it is important to understand how these perceptions are formed and what motivates people to engage with alternative sources of news. This thesis investigates how credibility relates to levels of openness and explores methods of increasing the credibility of open news systems. I produce a landscape of citizen participation in news and find that traditional news systems do not involve citizens to the extent that the terms used to describe them imply, and that more open systems tend to lack the structure and authority usually associated with news.

An experiment is performed which shows that this 'structure and authority' is related to how credible the news source is perceived to be. A graph-based community detection algorithm is then utilised to add some level of editorial control automatically to online news discussions. This algorithm is first validated to confirm that it is able to separate news discussion contributors into meaningful groups. Then an interface is designed to present the results of this algorithm, and a study is conducted to investigate the effects of using content grouping on the credibility assessments and behaviour of news readers.

These studies find that though the interface presents a wider range of viewpoints than existing interfaces, presenting news discussions in this way does not result in a change of credibility. However there is some evidence that the changed interface may result in readers being exposed to different topics. This implies that credibility is linked more strongly to the source of the news report than the intrinsic qualities of the report.
University of Southampton
Scott, Jonathan
d1d8c6ed-90cc-4d26-a053-aece826dc716
Scott, Jonathan
d1d8c6ed-90cc-4d26-a053-aece826dc716
Millard, David
4f19bca5-80dc-4533-a101-89a5a0e3b372

Scott, Jonathan (2017) The challenges of credibility in open news systems. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 252pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The news media play a number of important roles in a modern democratic society. However, with the press under increasing pressure to deliver news more quickly and with fewer resources, some readers are turning to non-traditional sources of news. These sources are often open to contribution from ordinary citizens as well as journalists,allowing for a wider range of backgrounds and experiences to be represented. Alternative news sources feature different styles of writing, publishing schedules, and topical focus than traditional providers which can result in people holding different perceptions of these outlets.

Due to the position of the news media in society it is important to understand how these perceptions are formed and what motivates people to engage with alternative sources of news. This thesis investigates how credibility relates to levels of openness and explores methods of increasing the credibility of open news systems. I produce a landscape of citizen participation in news and find that traditional news systems do not involve citizens to the extent that the terms used to describe them imply, and that more open systems tend to lack the structure and authority usually associated with news.

An experiment is performed which shows that this 'structure and authority' is related to how credible the news source is perceived to be. A graph-based community detection algorithm is then utilised to add some level of editorial control automatically to online news discussions. This algorithm is first validated to confirm that it is able to separate news discussion contributors into meaningful groups. Then an interface is designed to present the results of this algorithm, and a study is conducted to investigate the effects of using content grouping on the credibility assessments and behaviour of news readers.

These studies find that though the interface presents a wider range of viewpoints than existing interfaces, presenting news discussions in this way does not result in a change of credibility. However there is some evidence that the changed interface may result in readers being exposed to different topics. This implies that credibility is linked more strongly to the source of the news report than the intrinsic qualities of the report.

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Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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More information

Published date: March 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 419589
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/419589
PURE UUID: 2fbf70aa-4968-4664-a442-c7b65ddebbfe
ORCID for David Millard: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7512-2710

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Apr 2018 16:30
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 05:11

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Contributors

Author: Jonathan Scott
Thesis advisor: David Millard ORCID iD

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