Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The purpose of this study was to determine if there were any perceived differences in credibility between the widescreen television treatment, standard screen treatment and national and local newscasters. The data revealed no significant differences as a result of the widescreen television treatment. In addition, no significant main effects were observed between the newscaster treatments, "local" and "national," suggesting that as a group, viewers do not appear to have any predispositional attitudes dependent upon specific criteria toward the credibility of either type of newscaster. The design of the experiment was a classic 2 x 2 factorial design. The stimulus was a simulated newscast employing a professional newscaster in a major metropolitan market unknown to the test subjects. The final simulated tape also contained two actualities from a CBS broadcast taped October 12, 1983 at 5:30 P.M. CST. The newscaster treatment was administered verbally to subjects before the tape was shown. Test groups #1 and #2 were told that the tape was sent by CBS and was a demonstration tape of a newscaster recently hired by its news department. Groups #3 and #4 were told they were going to see a local newscaster in a major metropolitan market. Test subjects were asked to rate only the anchorman seen in the newscast and not any of the other news persons (correspondents) in the broadcast. Groups #2 and #4 viewed the newscast on a 6-foot (diagonal) widescreen television projection system manufactured by the SONY Corporation. Groups #1 and #3 viewed the simulated newscast on a conventional, tube-type RCA color television set (25" measured diagonally). Because of the experimental nature of this research, a reliable testing instrument was developed in a pilot study. The same simulated newscast described above was used. All pre-test subjects saw the simulated newscast on a conventional tube-type 25" (diagonal) television set. The test subjects responded to the twenty-five item semantic differential instrument developed by McCroskey and Jenson in 1975. Eighteen scales passed the McCroskey and Jenson criterion for inclusion in the final testing instrument.