Politicians' self-depiction and news portrayal: Evidence from 28 countries

Visuals play a crucial role in online political communication, especially during election campaigns. Prior research on candidate imagery has shown effects from non-verbal behavior (e.g., smiling), contextual features (e.g., depiction of other people), and structural characteristics (e.g., camera angle and proximity). This study argues to look at candidate imagery as institutionalized means of political communication. In the realm of the European Parliamentary Election 2019, self-promoted imagery on social networking sites (SNS) is expected to align along party structures vis-à-vis imagery in the news, which is anticipated to align along national borders. We look at candidate imagery in both news and SNS across all member states by means of a computational content analysis. Findings show that while self-depiction on SNS includes more smiling, news imagery employs more variation in angle and proximity. Differences are almost independent from structural influences except for some country alignment. Implications for future computational research are discussed.

Haim, M. & Jungblut, M. (5/2020). Politicians' self-depiction and news portrayal: Evidence from 28 countries. Presented at the 70th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, Gold Coast. (content_copy)