Measuring Conversational Journalism: An Experimental Test of Wiki, Twittered and “Collaborative” News Models

Doreen Marie Marchionni


Journalism-as-a-conversation has become a catchphrase for audience participation in the news. Largely missing from the literature, though, are clear conceptual and operational definitions of conversation that allow theory building for purposes of explanation and prediction. This exploratory study sought to help close that gap by theoretically indentifying a way to measure conversation’s features in terms of the audience experience, then testing the model on outcome measures of perceived credibility and expertise in three online contexts: twittered, wiki and “collaborative” news. Conversation’s proposed features: coorientation/homophily (perceived similarity), social presence, friendliness, informality and interactivity. Findings suggest the features of perceived similarity to a journalist and online interactivity are key. Somewhat problematic is the conversational feature of informality with an audience. Results suggest journalists can easily come across as too casual with readers to the detriment of trust.

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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