Image Versus Text: How Newspaper Reports Affect Evaluations of Political Candidates

Hajo Boomgaarden, Mark Boukes, Aurora Iorgoveanu


News coverage has become more visual and research suggests that news images affect assessments of political candidates. This study experimentally investigates the effects of textual versus visual on assessments of politicians’ competency and integrity, differentially for males and females. The results show that differences in visual favorability, combined with positive or negative verbal information, shape how people perceive male and female political candidates. The findings suggest that images do matter, but not more so than text, and their impact varies depending on the type of assessment and candidate gender. The results are discussed in light of the image superiority effect and its applicability to candidate communication.


candidate traits, experiment gender, image effects, visual versus text

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