ARTICLE: Freelance journalists keep a straight face on Facebook

Screen capture from

Freelance journalists use more serious profile pictures on their Facebook fan pages than employed journalists, write Serena Carpenter, Duygu Kanver and Rashad Timmons, all of Michigan State University. The authors analysed 468 journalists’ fan pages from around the world.

Freelance journalists keep a straight face in as many profile pictures as they smile in (38.9 per cent each). Employed journalists prefer smiling close-ups (39.1 per cent) to serious close-ups (23.2 per cent). In addition, employed journalists’ pictures feature action, full-body poses, and posed expressions more often than those of freelance journalists’. Gender-wise, men generally use serious and women smiling close-ups.

The authors also investigated how the journalists describe and categorize themselves through text. There were only few notable differences between freelance and employed journalists. Notably, freelance journalists are more keen on showcasing their non-technical skills, such as interviewing skills.

The article “It’s About Me: A study of journalists’ self-presentation of their visual and verbal selves” was published by the journal Journalism Practice. It is available online (abstract public).

Edited on 15.12.2016: The original photograph was removed as per the copyright holder’s request..

Give us feedback