Two book review articles by Dr. Kioko Ireri, an Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication have been published in the current issue of Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, the flagship journal of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Education (AEJC).

Authored by Erin Tolley, Framed: Media and the Coverage of Race in Canadian Politics, looks at the reportage of White and visible minority candidates so that patterns of media framing can be compared. Specifically, the volume explores the contextual nature of racialized media coverage by looking at a number of factors that include candidate gender, political party affiliation, and the diversity of the ridings in which politicians run.

Similarly, it investigates candidates’ own views on media coverage and race in politics. It sheds light on the work that journalists do, the constraints that they face, and how they think about covering stories touching on diversity.

Tolley outlines two strong justifications why Framed  is useful. It is the first Canadian study that documents visible minority and White candidates’ accounts of their electoral, communication, and image management strategies and assesses how a politician’s race affects self-presentation and media portrayals. Second, the book positions the media as a vital link in the citizen–politics relationship. Tolley is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, where she teaches Canadian politics.

The other book, Image and Emotion in Voter Decisions: The Affect Agenda examines the media coverage of politicians’ images and their influence on voters in election campaigns. Politicians’ images are comprehensively interrogated in terms of attributes, appearance, characteristics, and personal style—and how these factors shape voters’ attitudes in evaluating political candidates. The volume is the incredible work of Renita Coleman, associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism, and Denis Wu, associate professor of communication at Boston University. Coleman and Wu provide two key arguments why politicians’ images matter in political communications scholarship, especially when studied from affect, information processing, and agenda-setting theoretical standpoints. First, many public office seekers are assessed not on the issue stances they embrace, but on their images — self-presentation, emotional displays, and personal attributes. Second, in spite of numerous studies on the influence of mediated agendas on politics, Coleman and Wu point out that most research examine texts only—yet the news media does not deliver words only. Thus, they argue that the potential impact of visuals on people’s perceptions is too important to ignore in research. This is so because visuals make stories on television credible and interesting, resulting in what the authors refer to as “picture superiority.”