This article contributes to the study of legitimate authority and symbolic power in the media field by analyzing what I call the “validation repertoires” of audiences, that is, the various ways individuals combine in a single set of beliefs separate judgments of how valid or worthwhile they regard the opinions of a media worker with a specific institutionalized background. The empirical analysis focuses on cultural mediators and has three aspects: (a) mapping repertoires via latent class analysis, (b) explaining adherence to repertoires by links to positions in the field, and (c) predicting how repertoires affect the concrete use of recommendation systems. The results show that, currently, validation repertoires are mainly organized according to the degree of validation, not the degree of institutionalization; the validation of mediators appears to be multifaceted, influenced by cultural and media-related resources and generalized institutional trust; and repertoires have an impact on choice behavior.

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Keywords media audiences, journalism, cultural mediators, symbolic power of media, field theory, validation repertoires, latent class analysis
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Journal Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly
Verboord, M.N.M. (2020). Validation repertories of media audiences in the digital age: Examining the legitimate authority of cultural mediators. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. doi:10.1177/1077699020952117