The truth between the lines

Pjesivac, I., Spasovska, K., & Imre, I. (2015). The truth between the lines: Conceptualization of trust in news media in Serbia, Macedonia, and Croatia. Mass Communication and Society.

Abstract: This study explored, by comparative thematic analysis, the conceptualization of trust in news media in Serbia, Macedonia, and Croatia, three countries of Eastern Europe, where Communism might have left the heritage of distrust in all institutions and its fall the need for fundamental transformations of media systems. The analysis of 61 in-depth interviews showed the co-existence of three different connotations of trust: trust as faith in news media as expert systems, trust in journalistic selectivity (found in all three countries), and trust as confidence in news media (found only in the Serbian sample). The analysis of the interviews also indicated a possible new dimension of journalistic selectivity and showed that, when looking for the truth in media messages, Serbians, Macedonians and Croatians relied more on themselves than on the trustworthiness of their news media systems. The implications of these results on the measurement of trust in news media and on the relationship of Eastern Europeans towards their news media systems are discussed in light of sociological theories of trust, as well as specific historical, social and cultural circumstances in the region.

Ivanka Pjesivac 

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