Social Media in Television News: The Effects of Twitter and Facebook Comments on Journalism

Sherice Gearhart, Seok Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This study employs the heuristic-systematic model to assess the influences of Twitter and Facebook comments compared to man-on-the-street interviews on audiences’ evaluations of news journalism. Comments from social network sites (SNSs) also varied in their use of appropriate grammatical form and internet lingo. Using a 2 × 3 × 2 between-subjects experimental design, participants responded on journalistic quality and credibility after watching a television news segment with different comment types. Results revealed that SNS comments, as heuristic cues, played a substantial role in affecting audiences’ evaluation of the news. Specifically, results found that Twitter comments received the highest perceptions of journalistic quality, especially when featured in hard news stories. Stories featuring SNS comments using internet lingo were received more favorably than those using normal language. The results suggest that Twitter comments possess journalistic value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-259
Number of pages17
JournalElectronic News
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2014


  • credibility
  • elaboration likelihood model
  • social media
  • social network sites


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