Naming the dog on the internet : student reporters’ verification tactics for non-elite newsmakers online
Tan, Jeanette Rui Si
Date of Issue2017
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Digital disruption has challenged newsroom norms, and newsmakers are increasingly sought and found online. But who can reporters trust? In a post-truth, fake-news era, this paper explores how student reporters in Singapore verify the credibility of online newsmakers. The study has three areas of enquiry. Firstly, how do they utilise social media to find newsmakers? Secondly, as one benefit of the internet is that it offers access to diverse voices, how do they verify non-elite newsmakers’ identities? Finally, how do they negotiate credibility online in a post-truth world? This study draws on interview data between 2010 and 2016 to observe changes over time. Findings suggest that the next generation of reporters “stalk” non-elite newsmakers on social media to verify their identity. They have a greater flexibility of what constitutes “truth” and are more accepting of truth as relative. Thus, they prefer to use multiple news sources and viewpoints. They also viewed the social aspect of social media as a marker of credibility as they preferred to access newsmakers who showed one degree of separation from their own network.
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Digital Journalism on 10 Oct 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/21670811.2017.1377092.