While being frequently covered in the news media is key to political success, previous research demonstrates that some politicians are systematically more visible in the media than others. The current study advances our understanding of which politicians gain higher media visibility by exploring the effects of their personality traits. Utilizing a unique sample of 339 incumbent politicians in three countries, we find that the two personality traits that speak directly to one’s interpersonal orientation—agreeableness and extraversion—affect visibility, with less agreeable and more extraverted politicians appearing more frequently in the news. We also find that open to experience and emotionally stable politicians get covered more frequently and that being highly conscientious predicts media visibility in some cases, but not in others. Politicians high on these traits, we argue, enjoy an inherent advantage in the competition for the media’s attention.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The authors gratefully acknowledge support of the European Research Council (Advanced Grant “INFOPOL,” 295735) and of the Research Fund of the University of Antwerp (Grant 26827). Stefaan Walgrave (University of Antwerp) is principal investigator of the INFOPOL project, which has additional teams in Israel (led by Tamir Sheafer) and Canada (led by Stuart Soroka and Peter Loewen).
© The Author(s) 2018.
- mass media
- news and newsworthiness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language