Do people consume the news they trust? Incidental news usage and the high-choice media environment

Harsh Taneja, Katie Yaeger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


It is reasonable to expect trusted news organizations to have more engaged users. However, given the lowest levels of trust in media and the several intermediaries involved in digital news consumption, recent studies posit that trust and usage may not be related. We argue that while trust may not relate to overall news usage, given that much of it is incidental, but it could still explain intentional usage. We correlated passively metered usage from digital trace data on 35 national news outlets in the US with their trustworthiness from a nationally representative survey, for three discrete months. We find no association between trust and overall user engagement, but a positive relationship between trustworthiness and direct visits, the latter a measure of intentional usage. These relationships held for outlets despite their partisan leanings, multi-platform presence and their mainstream nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450359702
StatePublished - May 2 2019
Event2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019 - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: May 4 2019May 9 2019

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Media choice
  • Media use
  • News media
  • Online news
  • Rational choice
  • Trust
  • Trustworthiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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