Risky satire

Examining how a traditional news outlet’s use of satire can affect audience perceptions and future engagement with the news source

Jason T. Peifer, Jessica Myrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study explores the question of how the use of satire, as embedded within the trappings of a traditional news outlet (i.e. a reputable newspaper like the Boston Globe), could influence perceptions of the respective news organization and facets of engagement with it. An online experiment (N = 366) was conducted, offering comparisons both in terms of message features (i.e. a satirical versus conventional presentation of political information) and source attribution cues (i.e. satirical content attributed to a hard news source versus attribution to a satirical outlet). Results indicate that the use of satire may present some risks for a news outlet in terms of undermining reader trust, which can impact audience engagement. However, the results also suggest that the weight of legitimacy and credibility commonly associated with a traditional news outlet can translate into a perception of its satire having a stronger influence on individuals (compared to content from a purely satirical outlet), which can in turn influence the likelihood of sharing the satirical content. Tests of indirect effects highlight the mediating roles of source trust and perceived influence in processes of influence on facets of engagement (i.e. returning to the news source and sharing its content). On the whole, the model of relationships does not appear to be moderated by political party identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournalism
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

satire
news
Experiments
attribution
credibility
News
Satire
newspaper
legitimacy
organization
experiment

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

@article{fb46d8fc9d1146fc8d1e38fe0ff2e53d,
title = "Risky satire: Examining how a traditional news outlet’s use of satire can affect audience perceptions and future engagement with the news source",
abstract = "This study explores the question of how the use of satire, as embedded within the trappings of a traditional news outlet (i.e. a reputable newspaper like the Boston Globe), could influence perceptions of the respective news organization and facets of engagement with it. An online experiment (N = 366) was conducted, offering comparisons both in terms of message features (i.e. a satirical versus conventional presentation of political information) and source attribution cues (i.e. satirical content attributed to a hard news source versus attribution to a satirical outlet). Results indicate that the use of satire may present some risks for a news outlet in terms of undermining reader trust, which can impact audience engagement. However, the results also suggest that the weight of legitimacy and credibility commonly associated with a traditional news outlet can translate into a perception of its satire having a stronger influence on individuals (compared to content from a purely satirical outlet), which can in turn influence the likelihood of sharing the satirical content. Tests of indirect effects highlight the mediating roles of source trust and perceived influence in processes of influence on facets of engagement (i.e. returning to the news source and sharing its content). On the whole, the model of relationships does not appear to be moderated by political party identification.",
author = "Peifer, {Jason T.} and Jessica Myrick",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/1464884919833259",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "Journalism",
issn = "1464-8849",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Risky satire

T2 - Examining how a traditional news outlet’s use of satire can affect audience perceptions and future engagement with the news source

AU - Peifer, Jason T.

AU - Myrick, Jessica

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - This study explores the question of how the use of satire, as embedded within the trappings of a traditional news outlet (i.e. a reputable newspaper like the Boston Globe), could influence perceptions of the respective news organization and facets of engagement with it. An online experiment (N = 366) was conducted, offering comparisons both in terms of message features (i.e. a satirical versus conventional presentation of political information) and source attribution cues (i.e. satirical content attributed to a hard news source versus attribution to a satirical outlet). Results indicate that the use of satire may present some risks for a news outlet in terms of undermining reader trust, which can impact audience engagement. However, the results also suggest that the weight of legitimacy and credibility commonly associated with a traditional news outlet can translate into a perception of its satire having a stronger influence on individuals (compared to content from a purely satirical outlet), which can in turn influence the likelihood of sharing the satirical content. Tests of indirect effects highlight the mediating roles of source trust and perceived influence in processes of influence on facets of engagement (i.e. returning to the news source and sharing its content). On the whole, the model of relationships does not appear to be moderated by political party identification.

AB - This study explores the question of how the use of satire, as embedded within the trappings of a traditional news outlet (i.e. a reputable newspaper like the Boston Globe), could influence perceptions of the respective news organization and facets of engagement with it. An online experiment (N = 366) was conducted, offering comparisons both in terms of message features (i.e. a satirical versus conventional presentation of political information) and source attribution cues (i.e. satirical content attributed to a hard news source versus attribution to a satirical outlet). Results indicate that the use of satire may present some risks for a news outlet in terms of undermining reader trust, which can impact audience engagement. However, the results also suggest that the weight of legitimacy and credibility commonly associated with a traditional news outlet can translate into a perception of its satire having a stronger influence on individuals (compared to content from a purely satirical outlet), which can in turn influence the likelihood of sharing the satirical content. Tests of indirect effects highlight the mediating roles of source trust and perceived influence in processes of influence on facets of engagement (i.e. returning to the news source and sharing its content). On the whole, the model of relationships does not appear to be moderated by political party identification.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85062665171&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85062665171&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/1464884919833259

DO - 10.1177/1464884919833259

M3 - Article

JO - Journalism

JF - Journalism

SN - 1464-8849

ER -