If Only They Knew : Audience Expectations and Actual Sourcing Practices in Online Journalism
Manninen, V. (2020). If Only They Knew : Audience Expectations and Actual Sourcing Practices in Online Journalism. Journalism Practice, 14(4), 412-428. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2019.1625719
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This article answers the question “Are the sourcing practices in Finnish online journalism trustworthy?” Here, trustworthiness is operationalized as the fulfillment of audience expectations towards sourcing practices. To this end, expectations of young Finnish adults (aged 18–28) were compared to the observed practices of Finnish online journalists. A total of 36 news items (from 12 journalists working in three newsrooms, published in 2013 and 2017) were analyzed. The analysis indicates that online journalists’ sourcing practices largely do not conform to this audience segment's expectations. Namely, the audience expects more comprehensive investigation and thorough verification than what is common practice in online journalism. The use of high-credibility sources is both expected and commonplace. The results imply that transparency may be harmful rather than beneficial to journalism's credibility, as the unveiled practices do not always meet audience expectations.
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Additional information about fundingThis research was funded by the Suomen Kulttuurirahasto [The Finnish Cultural Foundation].
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