“You’d be Right to Indulge Some Skepticism”: Trust-building Strategies in Future-oriented News Discourse

Tali Aharoni*, Eedan Amit-Danhi, Maximilian Overbeck, Christian Baden, Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper explores trust-building strategies in future-oriented news discourse, marked by a high degree of uncertainty. While current research mainly focuses on audiences’ perceptions of news credibility, this study addresses news trust from a production standpoint. We examine the trust-building efforts of media actors, focusing on their discursive labor within the context of election projections. Drawing on rich data from five election rounds in Israel and the US, we qualitatively analyzed 400 news texts and 400 tweets that were produced by 20 US and 20 Israeli media actors. This textual analysis was supplemented by 10 in-depth interviews with Israeli journalists. Our findings demonstrate three types of journalistic trust-building rhetoric in election coverage: facticity, authority, and transparency. These strategies result in a two-fold form of trust, which re-affirms traditional notions of accuracy and validity, while also challenging the ability of newspersons to obtain them in contemporary political and media cultures. Overall, these strategies hold unique opportunities and challenges for sustaining public trust in journalism and illuminate the complex communicative labor involved in building trust with news audiences. Our findings also highlight the importance of studying trust not only in relation to the past and the present, but also in future-oriented discourse.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1651-1671
Number of pages21
JournalJournalism Studies
Volume24
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Election coverage
  • journalists
  • news production
  • news trust
  • projections
  • textual analysis

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