The study asked people to view New York Times content in a Tweet, in a short story and in a longer story and to assess their credibility. Even though the content was the same, people preferred the website content over the Tweets as more important and credible.
The report authors, Penn State communications professor Michael Schmierbach and marketing strategist Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch counsel caution in the findings. Early, active users of Twitter likely have higher regard for it than do recent users.
Still, they note: "At an applied level, the study suggests the need for caution in the use of Twitter as a way to distribute news."
The Poynter Institute's Jeff Sonderman notes that the findings might be important in the context of the Times' paywall and the effectiveness of deriving news from Tweets to get around it.