Improve Trust, Increase Loyalty? Analyzing the Relationship Between News Credibility and Consumption

Jacob L. Nelson, Su Jung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


As the news industry continues its ongoing struggle for financial stability, many now believe news publishers must shift from advertising- to audience-supported revenue models to survive. Yet those advocating for this transition believe it can only succeed if news organizations first improve their credibility among the public. This belief stems from two underlying assumptions: (1) trust in journalism is severely diminished throughout the world, and (2) news audience trust and loyalty are directly linked. This article investigates these assumptions by drawing on survey data collected from a representative panel of 1068 South Korean citizens in 2016. We find that more than half of South Korea’s audience is neutral when it comes to their news, neither trusting nor distrusting it. And while we find a significant relationship between how much people trust the news and how much of it they consume, we also find that this trust is not transferable across news platforms. In light of these results, we conclude that, when it comes to news audience behavior, more trust does lead to more loyalty; however, improving audience trust in one medium for news will not necessarily translate to more trust in—or support for—another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-365
Number of pages18
JournalJournalism Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Journalism
  • South Korea
  • credibility
  • loyalty
  • news audiences
  • trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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