Dr. Dana Markowitz-Elfassi

Dana  Markowitz-Elfassi

Dr. Dana Markowitz-Elfassi is a Post-Doctoral fellow at the Smart Institute and at the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research fields involve political communication, political psychology, journalistic practices and gender effects. 


In her current researches she examines the effects of physical attractiveness of Israeli parliament members on their political achievements and on their presence on the web. Her post-doctoral project, titled "The combined effect of physical attractiveness and news coverage on political success of Israeli parliament members: Findings and insights of the Israeli democracy", contributes to a more extensive understanding of the physical attractiveness effect in the political arena, especially focusing on the way politicians are being elected, promoted and use the media. 

Markowitz-Elfassi's dissertation, "Looking good: Physical attractiveness as a predictor of news coverage of politicians", examined how physical attractiveness of the Israeli politicians shapes political news and affects gate-keepers' decision making. In her work she demonstrated how better looking politicians receive more and better television news coverage. Also she examined how different components of physical attractiveness (symmetry, proportions, dress, hair-styling etc.) affect our evaluation of attractiveness and the news coverage. She argued that the effect of physical attractiveness on the news coverage is unique to the televised medium and is affected merely by structural beauty components.

This research not only offers a theoretical contribution to the conceptualization and to the measurement of physical attractiveness but also an important practical contribution to politicians and to their image consultants regarding their ability to influence news coverage by improving their physical attractiveness. The research was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF).

Markowitz-Elfassi's teaching areas are political communication, democracy and media and quantitative research methods. She received her PhD in communication and her Master of Communication degree (Dean's list) from the University of Haifa. Her BA studies in Education and Communication were completed at the Tel-Aviv University. 


Selected Publications

  • Markowitz-Elfassi, D. and Tsfati, Y. (Under Review). How does Beauty shape Television Political News? The effect of Israeli Politicians' Facial Attractiveness on the Tone of their News Coverage. Journalism
  • Markowitz-Elfassi, D. (2016). Looking Good: Physical Attractiveness as a Predictor of News Coverage of Politicians. PhD Thesis, University of Haifa, Israel.
  • Tsfati, Y., Markowitz-Elfassi, D. and Waismel-Manor, I. (2010). Exploring the Association between Israeli Legislators’ Physical Appearance and Their Television News Coverage. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 15(2), 175-192.


Conference papers

  • Markowitz-Elfassi, D. (2014). Nature or Nurture? Grooming and Structural Beauty Components and their Role in Predicting Television Coverage of Israeli Political Leaders. Paper presented at the AIS 30th Annual Meeting, Sde-Boker.
  • Markowitz-Elfassi, D. (2013). Biology, Beauty and the News: Do Evolutional Factors influence Decision Making of Journalists? Paper presented at the ICA 2013 Annual Conference, London.
  • Markowitz-Elfassi, D.  and Tsfati, Y. (2013). Looking Good? Women Look even Better: Gender Differences in Predicting Politicians' News Worthiness using Physical Attractiveness Measurement. Paper presented at the ISCA 2013 Annual Conference, Ramat-Gan.