Master of Mass Communication (MMC)


Mass Communication

Document Type



The topic of this thesis is how frequent news exposure affects the Black community’s perceptions of the world and trust in institutions. The purpose of this thesis is to uncover whether African Americans with more news exposure are more likely to view the world with skepticism and fear when compared to those with less news exposure. My hypotheses predicted that African Americans who have had frequent exposure to news will perceive the world as a meaner and scarier place (H1), will exhibit less trust in police officers (H2), and will exhibit less trust in news media (H3) than those who have had less news exposure. I also took into account how strength of racial identity and prior contact with law enforcement moderated these relationships. I ran a series of regression tests that revealed support for H1 and H2, but no support for H3. I found that higher levels of news exposure for African Americans predicts mean world perceptions and feelings of paranoia around police officers, but does not predict lack trust in the news media. I also found that racial identity and prior contact with law enforcement partially moderated these relationships. The possibility that participants who consume news frequently do so because they have a lot of trust in the news media is discussed, as well as other implications. Limitations and opportunities for future study are also considered.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Sanders, Meghan