Incorrect, fake, and false. Journalists’ perceived online source credibility and verification behavior


  • Maurice Vergeer Radboud University Nijmegen



journalism, professional socialization, perceived information credibility, verification behavior, Internet experience, news production


This study focuses on the extent journalists verify information provided by online sources, and tests to what extent this verification behavior can be explained by journalists’ perceived credibility of online information and other factors, such as journalism education of journalists, work and Internet experience, and work environment (broadcasting, newspapers, Internet). Although several studies have focused on perceived credibility of online information, none have tested its effect on actual verification behavior. This study will perform that test. Using a sample from the membership database of the Dutch Association of Journalists, a web questionnaire was used to ask journalists about their opinions, behavior, and professional background characteristics. Regression analysis was used to test the hypotheses. Analyses show that journalism education does not affect journalists’ verification behavior, neither directly nor indirectly via perceived online source credibility. Perceiving online information as less credible does not lead to verifying online information more extensively. Journalism education only affects the extent journalists perceive online (semi-) governmental information as less credible. The findings question the role of formal and informal professional socialization in training journalists to become professional journalists adhering to professional standards.

Author Biography

Maurice Vergeer, Radboud University Nijmegen

assistant professor, department of communication science, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, the Netherlands.




How to Cite

Vergeer, M. (2018). Incorrect, fake, and false. Journalists’ perceived online source credibility and verification behavior. Observatorio (OBS*), 12(1).