The two researchers took a story about Greek public finances that appeared online on the Huffington Post and showed it to a test group of 700 readers in three forms: as an unlabeled piece published online, as an online piece published by the Huffington Post and as an online piece published by The Economist.
The scent of this rose depended very much on its name: When respondents believed they were reading an Economist story, they rated its quality at 6.9 on a scale of 10; when the same piece was attributed to the Huffington Post, it drew a score of 6.1; and when it had no label, it scored just 5.4.
I’d be willing to bet that same piece shared in someone’s trusted social network would receive the highest score. I rarely go directly to Huffington Post (if at all) or The Economist directly, unless led there by someone to read a specific article, and 99% of the time I’m glad they did.
FJP: Very interesting look at how brands affect the way we perceive the news. We noted a similar study yesterday conducted by two PhD candidates at the University of Michigan. In it they look at Al Jazeera, and how viewers respond to news clips marked with the AJE brand versus how they respond when the brand is stripped or replaced by CNN International. Their conclusions are very similar to this study.