Tag Archive for The Wesleyan Media Project

Fowler Joins The Campaign Finance Institute Board

Erika Franklin Fowler is co-director of The Wesleyan Media Project.

Erika Franklin Fowler is co-director of The Wesleyan Media Project.

Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, recently joined the Campaign Finance Institute’s (CFI) Academic Advisory Board.

Fowler was one of 16 academics appointed to the board, which advises CFI as it plans and works through its research agenda. Also appointed was Michael Franz, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project and a professor at Bowdoin College.

Founded in 1999, CFI is a campaign finance policy think tank. According to the website, its original work is published in academic journals, and is regularly used by the media and policymakers. Its tools are made available to stimulate new research by others, while its bibliographies bring the results of recent scholarship to the attention of the policy community. More information about the board is available here.

Fowler, Baum, Students Present Paper at Political Science Association Meeting

Leonid Liu '14, Laura Baum, P. Marshal Lawler '16, Michael Linden '15, Eliza Loomis '15, Zachary Wulderk '15, Erika Franklin Fowler at the American Political Science Association meeting.

Leonid Liu ’14, Project Manager Laura Baum, P. Marshal Lawler ’16, Michael Linden ’15, Eliza Loomis ’15, Zachary Wulderk ’15 and Assistant Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler attended the American Political Science Association meeting.

Assistant Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler, Project Manager in the Government Department Laura Baum, and four students presented a paper titled, “A Messenger Like Me: The Effect of Ordinary Spokespeople in Campaign Advertising” at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association Conference, Aug. 30 in Washington, D.C.

The student authors are P. Marshal Lawler ’16, Michael Linden ’15, Eliza Loomis ’15 and Zachary Wulderk ’15.

The paper considers the effects of using non-elite spokespeople (ie. “the everyman”) in political advertising. The authors draw upon the Wesleyan Media Project’s vast database of political advertising, as well as original coding on almost 300 ads, and a new large-scale survey data set assessing the effectiveness and credibility of 2012 campaign ads. They found that using ordinary spokespeople is a common tactic, particularly in negative campaign advertising, and that their use is associated with higher credibility scores than ads without them, even after controlling for partisanship and political sophistication.

The paper grew out of a fall 2013 pilot course at Wesleyan, GOVT 378 Advanced Topics in Media Analysis. Read the full paper online here.

Rockefeller Brothers Fund Supports Fowler’s Media Project

Erika Fowler, assistant professor of government, received a grant worth $80,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The award will provide support to the Wesleyan Media Project through October 2013. The grant is shared with Bowdoin College and Washington State University.

Wesleyan Media Project: 2010 Campaign Ads Most Negative Ever


Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government, is director of The Wesleyan Media Project.


The 2010 campaign season was the most negative in recent years, but, current political rhetoric aside, that actually may not be a bad thing.

These are among the findings and conclusions from a recent journal article published by Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government and director of The Wesleyan Media Project, and her co-researchers in The Forum, a Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics.

“Advertising Trends in 2010” by Fowler and Travis Ridout, associate professor at Washington State University and co-director of The Wesleyan Media Project, examined the data and trends in television campaign advertising from all Federal and Gubernatorial races during the 2010 cycle. This included such issues as negativity levels and tenor in ads and its effect; the top issues and themes used by Democrats and Republicans in House and Senate ads; and ad tone (Attack, Promote, Contrast) by party from 2000-2010.