Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Fred Vultee


The purpose of this study is to investigate audience perceptions of trust, credibility and authenticity in news information coming from traditional and social media sources, especially focused on how securitization amplifies the effects of news frames regarding race and culture. Research in race and media suggests that citizens of nations who look like the "other" will be framed differently than those of nations that look like "us." The study examines the effects of securitization and how exceptionalism coupled with framing can create an atmosphere where American culture has become securitized, in particular the ways in which multiculturalism due to increased immigration, especially from South Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American countries, has led to a racially charged space post-9/11. The study employed an experiment comparing traditional and social media to determine the ways in which audiences perceive news information and found that story type (securitized and nonsecuritized) played an important role in how audiences percieved trust, credibility and authenticity in the information, the presenter and the modality. Overall, securitized stories were trusted and perceived more credible than nonsecuritzed stories. Race played a larger role in the way audiences perceived the presenter, with the Brown presenters generally being perceived as more authentic than their White counterparts. Audiences also perceived traditional media more trustworthy and credible compared to social media. But news from social media was perceived as more authentic than traditional media. Further, this dissertation focused on how securitization has a framing function with the news media as an important intermediary between political actors and the public. Broadcast news can provide a multilayered look at how audiences perceive information from on-air personalities. But in recent years, the growth of social media has provided consumers an alternative place to get their news, such as video blogs and/or podcasts. Thus, this study examines perceptions of news information from multiple channels, presenters of different ethnicities and modality due to the drastically changed ways in which the American public, politicians and the media talk about "security."