The Effect of Politicians’ Personality on Their Media Visibility

Eran Amsalem, Alon Zoizner, Tamir Sheafer, Stefaan Walgrave, Peter John Loewen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1079-1102
Number of pages24
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • mass media
  • method
  • news and newsworthiness
  • survey
  • topics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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