A columnist s call to action audience perceptions of credibility and authority online vs print
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A Columnist’s Call To Action: Audience Perceptions of Credibility and Authority Online vs. Print. Sue Robinson University of Wisconsin-Madison April 2008. The Experiment. 2 (interactivity: blog, no blog) X 2 (multimedia: text, video) Kristof’s column on Darfur

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A Columnist’s Call To Action: Audience Perceptions of Credibility and Authority Online vs. Print

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A columnist s call to action audience perceptions of credibility and authority online vs print

A Columnist’s Call To Action:Audience Perceptions of Credibility and Authority Online vs. Print

Sue Robinson

University of Wisconsin-Madison

April 2008


The experiment

The Experiment

2 (interactivity: blog, no blog)

X 2 (multimedia: text, video)

  • Kristof’s column on Darfur

    http://select.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/opinion/26kristof.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

  • Kristof’s video on Darfur

    http://video.on.nytimes.com/?fr_story=b1fe27b1121b74a6ca2529cd41184f9f3b989a01&rf=bm

  • Kristof’s blog on Darfur


H1 columnist s credibility

H1: Columnist’s Credibility

  • H1a: Those people who read the blog, forced to comment will feel the author is more credible than those who did not have this opportunity.

  • H1b: Those people who watched the video with Kristof as a character will feel that the author is more credible than those who only read the column.


H2 columnist s authority

H2: Columnist’s Authority

  • H2a: Those people who read the blog, forced to comment will feel Kristof embodies more authority to tell this news story than those who did not have this opportunity.

  • H2b: Those people who watched the video will think Kristof is more authoritative than those who read the column.


H3 accept call to action

H3: Accept Call to Action?

  • H3a: Those people who believe Kristof to be more credible, will be more apt to accept and advocate Kristof’s main premise that the United States must get involved in the Darfur situation.

  • H3b: Those people who believe Kristof to be more authoritative will be more apt to want the United States to get involved in the Darfur situation.


Credibility

Credibility

  • Neither H1a or H1b was supported

  • All thought Kristof credible

    BUT open-ended questions

    nuanced analysis

  • Almost half in text conditions: Kristof is most credible of all characters

  • Video: Kristof least credible of all characters


A columnist s call to action audience perceptions of credibility and authority online vs print

Text

  • “I would hope Kristof is the most credible because if he isn’t then who knows if the others are even real.”

  • “I find Kristof most credible. As a writer for the largest national newspaper, his abilities can generally be trusted in my opinion.”


Video

Video

  • Kristof: “annoying,” “sensational,” and “arrogant,” and who “talks in a monotone voice.”

  • Kristof was “only a reporter who was probably not a 100% knowledgeable in this area.”

  • “I especially find the elderly man credible as we saw evidence of the burns.”


Authority

Authority

  • Neither H2a nor H2b supported

  • But H2b’s opposite was true:

  • Column More authoritative than video


A columnist s call to action audience perceptions of credibility and authority online vs print

Column:

  • “Committed,” “expert,” “advocate,” “activist”

  • Referenced events of Darfur

    Kristof Primary source expert

    Video:

  • “He covers international news”

  • “I see Kristof as a man who is using journalistic pursuits to help spread a message”

  • “A dedicated journalist”

  • Referenced coverage of Darfur

    Kristof Secondary source


A call to action

A Call to Action

  • Both H3a and H3b supported

  • Perception of Kristof’s credibility and authority accounted for nearly a third of the variance of the desire to get involved with Darfur


Furthermore

Furthermore…

  • People who read the column and then were asked to blog were significantly more likely to support Kristof’s call to action (ß=.88, p<.05)

  • Modality had no significant predictor value on call to action, at least not directly


A columnist s call to action audience perceptions of credibility and authority online vs print

Blog:

  • Personalized call to action, more emotive

  • “We must do something to stop the situation in Darfur!”

    No Blog:

  • Less emotion, more third-person

  • “The need for the US to be involved in poorer countries affairs…”


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Don’t stop writing

  • Consider video format, video narrator carefully

  • Rethink purpose of multimedia

  • Call on blogs to connect, make it personal, bring it home


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