Cred•i•bil•i•ty: Accents in Broadcast Journalism

In the profession of broadcast journalism, credibility comes in many forms.

Being credible as a reporter plays a crucial role in gaining viewers interest and trust on a story.

In a recent study published in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, individuals with a noticeable accent were viewed as less credible than those without a noticeable accent.

USA Today reporter Elizabeth Weise interviewed Boaz Keysar, lead author on the paper and professor of psychology at the University of Chicago.

In the article Keysar said,

“The accent makes it harder for people to understand what the non-native speaker is saying. … [People] misattribute the difficulty of understanding the speech to the truthfulness of the statements.”

“[C]redibility is a perceived concept instead of one that resides in an object,” said B.J. Fogg and his associates at Stanford University in a report concerning online user-perceived credibility. 

The Speech Accent Archive created by George Mason University is an interactive tool that allows users to hear and differentiate between different accents from around the globe.

The study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology raises the question, if a broadcast news reporter reports in an area where their accent is non-native, will they be perceived as less credible than their other co-workers?  If so what else can be done to further their credibility?

-Megan Chilman

This entry was posted in International Press, News coverage, Reporting. Bookmark the permalink.

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