News Source Credibility

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A factor affecting news source credibility is news bias, especially on the part of the journalist—which, in turn, results in news being biased. According to Herbert (2001), consumers of the media in today’s technological era have a higher tendency to question the source(s) of news, as well as whether or not that news is biased because of the easy accessibility of facts on the Internet today. This bias can encompass personalization, dramatization, and fragmentation of news sources as well as source bias (Bennett, 1988). Personalization of news is defined as when journalists turn news into “human interest accounts”, focusing more on a particular individual than the issue at hand. Dramatization of news is described as stories about events being…show more content…
There are two types of news censorship—political censorship and self-censorship. Political censorship is also known as government censorship, and involves restricting public access to certain materials or information—and this is usually done as a result of political or governmental control (McDonald, 1993). On the other hand, Yesil (2014) defined self-censorship as when journalists are forced to impose censorship upon themselves and the information that they obtain so as to not offend interest groups such as state authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), advertisers, and other pressure groups. News source credibility can deteriorate as a result of self-censorship. Lee and Chan (2008) expressed that self-censorship is “the media’s submission to political power. The fact that many journalists perceive self-censorship as a serious problem hints at the operation of counteracting forces that prevent journalists from completely internalizing the values and norms of the new political power center” (p. 331). A study conducted in Hong Kong found that there is a link between censorship of the press and news source credibility; where higher levels of censorship resulted in lower perceived news source credibility among citizens (So & Chan,…show more content…
Potter (2005) defines media literacy as “a set of perspectives that we actively use to expose ourselves to the media to interpret the meaning of the messages we encounter” (p. 22). Because of the sheer number of messages we receive in a day, it is impossible to retain all the information we actively or inactively obtain through the mass media. Therefore, with media literacy, we are able to choose the most meaningful and credible information to satisfy our need for a maximum flow of information. Lankes (2008) concluded that consumers need to be familiar with mass media tools and the biases in it so that they are able to better form opinions or inferences about the credibility of a media message. If they do not acquire this knowledge, they will unconsciously depend on information from media owners and the policies that they formulate. These policies may or may not distort a media message, and this, in turn, raises credibility issues and concerns. Therefore, because of the proliferation of mass media in today’s era especially the digital mass media, there is an increasing need for media literacy so that people are able to make better-informed decisions about what is credible and
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