Schneider co-authors paper on navigating disinformation in news sources

Erika Schneider, a public relations assistant professor, co-authored the paper, “Using Message Strategies to Attenuate the Effects of Disinformation on Credibility” with Courtney D. Boman of The University of Alabama. The paper was published in Communication Studies.


In the growth of online news, the industry faces increased threats on a polarized landscape, such as online-targeted disinformation, that threaten the legitimacy of news sources. This research contributes to the theoretical advancement of crisis communication and social psychology theories and provides guidance for professionals navigating emerging forms of paracrises. Results from this experimental design study reveal that during orchestrated disinformation campaigns, an astroturf paracrisis can damage the credibility of a targeted organization. Findings share how political ideology affects perceptions of news credibility during these campaigns and how combined proactive and reactive messaging can attenuate the effects of an astroturfer across the political spectrum.