Street cred : are media consumers craving more “authenticity” in the digital age?
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Media organizations that provide news have traditionally relied on audience perceptions of truth and credibility to lure more readers, viewers, and listeners. The author explores whether authenticity has emerged in the digital age as an additional ingredient in media consumers’ daily decisions about where to turn – and where to return – for trustworthy information. As it becomes ever-more of a challenge for consumers to distinguish reliable information from “fake news” in the 21st century, audiences may be seeking content from media organizations that feels more authentic, genuine, and personalized. Three case studies drawn from new media, as well as legacy media, help illustrate what traditional and startup media institutions can do to better understand audience attitudes and behaviors: the HBO series “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” the online site Reddit, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning work of Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold.
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