The Policy Process & Elite Communication
Works in Progress
“How Powerful a Presence? Woman as Sources in Television News” Paper presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting. Philadelphia, PA, September 2016. with Pamela J. Conover, Amy Sentementes, and Leah Christiani.
It is both symbolically and substantively important that women are equally represented as sources in the national news on television. When women appear as sources in the national news they serve as visible women leaders for other women, as well as substantively effecting the agenda and framing of the news. Using data from the Chapel Hill America Media Project—a collection of text transcripts and associated metadata from 2000-2014 that includes daytime and evening news and talk shows on ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX News, NBC, and MSNBC—we provide a more comprehensive analysis of women’s presence as sources in the national news. Then by focusing on “speaking time”, we assess the (potential) influence that women sources have compared to men. Overall, we find the women are underrepresented as sources. And when they do appear on the news, women have less influence than men, as measured by speaking time.
“Interest Niches and Policy Bandwagons in Online Outside Lobbying” Paper presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting Political Communication Pre-Conference. Philadelphia, PA, August 2016. with John Cluverius.
While participation and trust in government has decreased over time, the number of citizens contacting Members of Congress has increased over time. Additionally, the number of registered lobbyists have decreased overtime. Does this tension indicate that there is a closer link between the people and their representatives; or does it indicate that we are observing a shift in tactics by lobbyists from direct contact to grassroots lobbyists? To inform these questions, we ask: why do citizens choose to comment on bills and which bills do they comment on? We propose and demonstrate that citizens are not randomly voicing their opinions nor are they responding to increased coverage by the media. Rather, interest groups are activating members of the public who share their views and feeding them language. To test this theory, we use a unique data set of commenting patterns by constituents and interest groups to test this relationship. We find that those opposing bills seem to be better organized and are more likely to be activated by groups than those supporting legislation.
For an associated presentation, click here.