Date of Award
Master of Science
Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
This study used a qualitative approach to explore the impact of diversity on television through Black viewers' responses to newscasters of different races. The goal was to explore 1) the impact of a newscaster's race on his or her perceived credibility, 2) the perceived accuracy of news reports of racially driven stories, and 3) emotional responses provoked by the race of a newscaster. Twenty-two Black males participated in focus groups. Participants watched two sets of news clips, each followed by a series of questions. The first set of news clips included an assortment of random news stories, read by two White anchors and two Black anchors. The second set consisted of two anchors reporting on a racially specific story, one White anchor and one Black. The focus groups were audiotaped and data were later analyzed. The research found that race played a significant role in the source credibility of the anchor. Participants' connection to culture, likeliness, emotion and empathy emerged as factors affecting the news anchors' credibility. Specifically in the race related stories, the imagery used as well as the word choice combined with the race of the anchor to prompt a heavy emotional response from the participants.
The findings imply that there is a serious lack of trust in news media from these participants, and race plays a significant factor. The lack of Black anchors is only one element as the participants acknowledged that regardless of how many Black anchors there are, the news as a whole is still written for and by the White majority. It seems the lack of trust in the news media is here to stay until Blacks have a more dominant role in the industry.
Pauli (Mayfield) Escobedo
Escobedo, Pauli (Mayfield), "Source credibility and race: Black viewers’ responses to television news anchors" (2015). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 14955.