Research on trust has come to the forefront of communication studies. Beyond the dominant focus on informational trust and its country-specific articulations, trustworthiness evaluations can relate to the materiality of news and its global manifestations. Especially in digital algorithmic environments, understanding news trustworthiness requires a holistic approach, which combines informational and socio-technical aspects while addressing both institutional and interpersonal trust. Drawing on 488 in-depth interviews with media consumers in Argentina, Finland, Israel, Japan, and the United States, this article investigates news (dis)trust from the lens of socio-materiality. The six trust-oriented affordances we identified—selectivity, interactivity, customization, searchability, information abundance, and immediacy—reveal important socio-technical commonalities that underlie news trust across countries. These affordances, moreover, point to an interplay of trust and self-agency. Taken together, the findings illuminate the lived experience of news trust as manifested across cultures and offer a broader understanding of trustworthiness within current media ecology.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation, JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 17H01833, and the Global Partnership Fund of the Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University.
© The Author(s) 2022.
- audience studies
- comparative research
- in-depth interviews
- news consumption