Here you will find a selection of our latest publications

Prochazka F. & Obermaier, M. (2022). Trust through Transparency? How Journalistic Reactions to Media-Critical User Comments Affect Quality Perceptions and Behavior Intentions. In Digital Journalism, DOI: 10.1080/21670811.2021.2017316 

User comments to digital news often contain media criticism, detrimentally affecting how others perceive the quality of news and possibly lowering media trust.
It remains an open question, however, how journalistic reactions can mitigate these effects.
Based on premises of engagement moderation, accountability, and transparency in digital journalism,
we conducted an online experiment investigating how critical user comments and journalistic reactions affect quality perceptions and behavioral intentions towards a news media brand.
Results show that media-critical comments lower perceived brand quality, but only among media cynics, whereby increasing it among media supporters.
Journalists admitting mistakes only enhances perceived brand quality for media cynics, while denying does so for everyone and decreases cynics’ intention to comment negatively.
Lastly, explaining why a mistake was made or not boosts brand quality perceptions overall, suggesting that transparency is a viable strategy for improving media trust in the long run

Fawzi, N. et al. (2021). Concepts, causes and consequences of trust in news media – a
literature review and framework, Annals of the International Communication Association, DOI: 10.1080/23808985.2021.1960181

Research on trust in media is on the rise. However, communication scholars have addressed related concepts (e.g. media credibility) for decades, and these concepts have often been used interchangeably
with that of trust. This practice has resulted in a confusing field of research, with studies using different labels and drawing on various theoretical backgrounds. This article aims to improve conceptual clarity.
On the basis of a literature review, we first propose a broad conceptualization of trust in news media and disentangle it from related concepts. Secondly, we develop a framework that identifies
individual- and societal-level causes and consequences of trust in various media objects. Third, we review the current state of research on social, political, and media-related correlates of trust.

Klawier, T., Prochazka, F. & Schweiger, W. (2021). Public knowledge of alternative media in times of algorithmically personalized news. New Media & Society, 1–20.

Citizens are likely to encounter various types of alternative media online, especially on algorithmically personalized news channels (APNC) like social network sites or search engines. It is unclear, however, to what degree they are aware of these outlets and familiar with the concept of alternative media. This study investigates the relation between exposure to alternative media and knowledge of them, taking the role of APNC into account. Analyzing representative survey data of German Internet users, we find a gap: While many individuals report to use alternative media, few of them are able to name alternative media titles matching scholarly conceptions. Although the use of APNC increases self-reported exposure to alternative media, it does not improve actual knowledge of them. All in all, many Internet users have little awareness of alternative media and do not clearly distinguish between different types of sources they come across online.

Prochazka, F. & Schweiger, W. (2020). Vertrauen in Journalismus in Deutschland: Eine Typologie der Skeptiker: Erwartungen an Medien und die Wahrnehmung ihrer Umsetzung.
Media Perspektiven(4), 196–206.

Trust in journalistic offerings and their quality characteristics are a persistently relevant field of research in view of digital structural change.
In a project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the forms and causes of trust in journalism were investigated.
The focus was particularly on those population groups that are skeptical of media offerings and have doubts about their quality standards.
In a representative online survey, 936 people were asked about their trust in journalism, their expectations of journalistic media, their perception of their quality and their news usage.


Prochazka, F. (2020). Vertrauen in Journalismus unter Online-Bedingungen: Zum Einfluss von Personenmerkmalen, Qualitätswahrnehmungen und Nachrichtennutzung. Springer VS.

This open-access book (in German) addresses the question which individual factors explain trust or distrust in journalism. In parts of the population, trust in news media is declining. At the same time, journalism is losing its role as primary gatekeeper and competing with other information providers on the Internet. Fabian Prochazka investigates theoretically and empirically how these two phenomena are connected. In which social groups is trust or distrust in journalism particularly widespread and how is it related to personal characteristics? What perceptions of quality and which allegations against journalism lie behind trusting or distrusting attitudes? How do changing information environments online damage or strengthen trust in news media?