The correspondent, the combatant, and the comic : how moderator style and guest civility shape news credibility
Kim, Young Mie
Shah, Dhavan V.
Tailored within the increasingly competitive news environment, televised interview programs have adopted a range of moderating styles, heralding a rise in "combatant" and "comic" moderators to complement the conventional "correspondent" interview style. Little research, however, has investigated these moderator styles and their implications for media accountability. This study examines how three moderator styles — the correspondent, the comic, and the combatant — influence the perceptions of media credibility and evaluations of the program. The findings of this experimental study indicate that among the three moderator styles — correspondent, comic, and combatant — the correspondent moderator produced the highest ratings of media credibility and program evaluations without limiting entertainment value, while the use of humor mitigates the negative impact on these outcome in the presence of an aggressive interviewer. Notably, the tone of participating pundits did not directly or indirectly affect perceptions of the media in general or the program in particular, suggesting judgments of media credibility are compartmentalized and driven by moderator styles as journalistic choices. The implications for media accountability in a democracy are discussed.
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication.
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