Hi there, welcome to my little spot on the Internet.  I’m a Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I hold affiliations with the Department of Political Science and the La Follette School of Public Affairs.  I direct the Physiology and Communication Effects (PACE) Lab, am a Senior Fellow with the Mass Communication Research Center, a faculty affiliate at the Center for Communication and Democracy, and a faculty affiliate at the Elections Research Center at UW-Madison.

It is a special delight to announce that I will be the Founding Director of the Center for Communication and Civic Renewal at UW-Madison. The center, supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Broadly speaking, my research, teaching and service are animated by the Wisconsin Idea. My research explores a variety of ways to answer the question, “how well does democracy work?”  In general, I investigate how elements of the information environment interact with individual-level factors to affect people’s political preferences, partisanship and behaviors. About 40 of my books, articles and book chapters have been published in outlets such as Journal of CommunicationAnnual Review of Political ScienceJournalism & Communication Monographs, American Behavioral Scientist and Mass Communication and Society. My work has been funded by organizations including the National Science Foundation, the Dirksen Congressional Center, the Carnegie-Knight Foundation and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.  If you’d like to take a look at some of my work, you can click on the Research tab above. You can read my CV or check out news coverage of my work, teaching, and political analysis by clicking on the bar above my picture. Recent blog posts are to the right.

In addition to my scholarly work, I love teaching.  At UW-Madison, I teach Introduction to Mass Communication (J201), Principles and Practice of Reporting (J335), In-Depth Reporting (J401),  Interpretation of Contemporary Affairs, aka Opinion Writing (J404), Fact-Checking via The Observatory (J475), Communication and Opinion (J614), Mass Media and Political Behavior (J618), Media Bias and U.S. Politics (J676), Mass Communication and the Individual (J801), Political Communication (J829) and Physiology and Communication Effects (J880).

While at UNL, I was voted the 2009 Outstanding Educator of the Year by the student body and in 2012 I won the Hazel R. McClymont Distinguished Teaching Fellow Award and an award from the Parents Association and Teaching Council for Contributions to Students.  At UW-Madison, I was a Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence Fellow from 2013-14 and was awarded the Ken and Linda Ciriacks Alumni Outreach Excellence Award for 2016-17.

Prior to arriving at Wisconsin, I was a political scientist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 2007-2012 and at the University of Delaware from 2006-2007.  Prior to earning my Ph.D. at Indiana University in 2006, I was a news reporter in Peoria, IL and Omaha, NE and a press secretary on an ill-fated congressional campaign in the 2000 election cycle. I covered presidential primary elections in 2000, gubernatorial elections in Illinois (though the winner is now in prison), state politics (interviewing a state senator named Barack Obama), and local politics.

When I’m not engaging in the study of political communication, I enjoy hanging out with my family, golfing, playing the guitar, reading, cooking, travel, good music, television, and movies, and rooting for the Minnesota Twins and, inexplicably, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Vikings.

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