Two-Sided Narration and In-Group Narrator: Examining the Effects of Different Strategies of Mediated Public Diplomacy
With the COVID-19 pandemic reducing multilateral cooperation and acting as a multiplier of “decoupling” major-power relations, the potential of public diplomacy for rebuilding trust has been highlighted. The present study examines the effects of different strategies for improving international attitudes with perceived credibility as a mediator. Using China-U.S. relations as case study, a 2 × 2 between-subject factorial design (N = 425) crossed-narration perspective (one-sided vs. two-sided information) with narrator identity (in-group vs. out-group of targeted audiences). Results indicated when American participants were exposed to China-related media content that (a) told stories from both positive and negative perspectives or (b) was produced by in-group members, they perceived the information as having high credibility and showed significant positive attitude increases. However, combining two strategies did not bring additive effects. The findings illustrate that two-sided narration and in-group narrator are effective approaches to mediated public diplomacy. Implications for public diplomacy research and practices in the post-pandemic epoch are discussed.