Political Communication

Faculty Picks: 5 Great Books on Political Communication - Selected by Choice Reviewer Will Miller

The following books provide insights into political communication. They tackle everything from theoretical discussions of effective political communication, to examinations of the impact social media has had on our understanding of political communication, to personal narratives on the importance of communication when working in politics. When considering how politicians speak to each other, to their constituents, or to the public, it is vital to understand how messaging is designed and targeted. With the advent of Twitter and YouTube and the nuances of the Trump presidency, this is the perfect time to consider how political communication has evolved over time, and to contemplate the lasting impacts new developments may have on how we think about political communication moving forward.

All Too Human, by George Stephanopoulos. Little, Brown, 1999.
In a memoir covering his time as Bill Clinton’s first director of communications and later senior advisor, Stephanopoulos discusses through his own trials and tribulations the challenges of communicating from the most powerful office in the United States. Most importantly, the memoir demonstrates the stresses of maintaining meaningful interpersonal communication while also serving as the spokesperson for an entire administration.

The Oxford Handbook of Political Communication, edited by Kate Kenski and Kathleen Hall Jamieson. Oxford, 2017.
This is the authoritative source for current research and trends in political communication. Kenski and Hall Jamieson bring together scholars from both political science and communication to explore subjects such as the impact of political advertising, agenda setting, framing, and how social media is impacting today’s understanding of political communication. Perhaps most impactfully, the volume helps to demonstrate the connections between political science, sociology, psychology, communication studies, and neuroscience.

Trump and the Media, edited by Pablo Boczkowski and Zizi Papacharissi. MIT, 2018.
Boczkowski and Papacharissi bring together media and technology scholars to examine to examine how the Trump presidency is changing our understanding of political communication. Through pointed contemporary essays, the contributors examine the rise of fake news, the reemergence of an “us versus them” mentality, and the impact of a president who is deeply engaged with Twitter. Ultimately, the volume illuminates how information and politics try to coexist in a changing political environment.

The American Presidency and Entertainment Media: How Technology Affects Political Communication, by Thomas Gallagher. Lexington Books, 2017.
While Trump may have done it better than those before him, US presidents have long used entertainment media to reach audiences both during campaigns and while in office. Through a series of interviews, Gallagher helps us understand how adjustments are made by operatives and staff. If Gallagher’s claims are true, it raises questions on how to balance the seriousness of office and maintain civil discourse.

Social Media, Culture and Politics in Asia, edited by Lars Willnat and Annette Aw. Peter Lang, 2014.
While examining the American context of political communication is important for assuring a healthy domestic perspective, being able to meaningfully compare to how other areas of the world view and use political communication helps us better contextualize our own experiences and understandings. In this comparative volume, scholars examine nine Asian nations and how social media impacts political engagement within each country.

About the author:

Will Miller has worked on numerous campaigns at various levels of government. He earned is doctorate in Urban Studies and Public Administration at the University of Akron. He has taught political science, focusing on campaign management and political behavior, at Flagler College, Southeast Missouri State University, Ohio University, and Notre Dame College.