Press Room

Communication Scholars Available to Discuss Fifth Democratic Presidential Primary Debate

November 5, 2019
Experts Available

How will candidates get their messages out before and during the critical fifth Democratic presidential primary debate later this month? The National Communication Association can put reporters in touch with leading Communication scholars who specialize in digital communication, news media, visual rhetoric, and presidential rhetoric. These experts are well-equipped to address a variety of questions about the debates and the Democratic primary: 

  • How have candidates used memes and internet culture to propel their candidacies?  
  • In what ways are young voters engaging in this election and with the debate? 
  • Has media coverage thus far favored particular candidates? 
  • What might candidates do during the debate to change their media narratives? 


Leslie A. Hahner
Associate Professor of Communication, Baylor University

Dr. Hahner examines how rhetoric shapes public culture. Dr. Hahner’s research focuses on how visual texts shape the tastes and values of culture. Dr. Hahner is the co-author of Make America Meme Again: The Rhetoric of the Alt-Right. Make America Meme Again focuses on the role that memes have played in the rise of the Alt-Right. The authors argue that memes are not just recruitment tools; they also affect how members of the public understand and interact with their government. In addition to academic works, Dr. Hahner co-authored a piece in The Conversation about the relationship among memes, conspiracy theories, and the mass media. 

Diana Zulli 
Assistant Professor of Communication, Purdue University 

Dr. Zulli’s research focuses on the interaction of communication theory, political rhetoric, and digital technology. In particular, Dr. Zulli is interested in how communication theories function in, and are affected by, the rapidly changing digital communication environment, how news media shape political discourse, and how digital technology affects political processes. Dr. Zulli has previously published research on Instagram and the attention economy in the NCA journal Critical Studies in Media Communication


To schedule an interview with any of these experts, please contact Grace Hébert at or 202-534-1104. 

About the National Communication Association

The National Communication Association (NCA) advances Communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry. NCA serves the scholars, teachers, and practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their professional interests in research and teaching. Dedicated to fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, NCA promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems. NCA supports inclusiveness and diversity among our faculties, within our membership, in the workplace, and in the classroom; NCA supports and promotes policies that fairly encourage this diversity and inclusion. 

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