Press Room

Communication Scholars Available to Discuss Fourth Democratic Presidential Primary Debate

October 8, 2019
Experts Available

The fourth presidential primary debate will feature the top 12 candidates based on polling data and individual donation numbers. The National Communication Association can put reporters in touch with leading Communication scholars who specialize in political communication and presidential rhetoric. These experts are well-equipped to address a variety of questions about the debates and the Democratic primary:

  • How can lesser-known candidates differentiate themselves?
  • What challenges will candidates face with more candidates on stage?
  • Do you expect to see any differences between this debate and the previous ones?
  • What strategies might the higher-polling candidates use to stay ahead?


Sumana Chattopadhyay
Associate Professor Digital Media and Performing Arts/Media Studies, Marquette University

Sumana Chattopadhyay’s research interests include: media effects and public opinion; efficacy, media use and civic participation; political advertising; and presidential debates. Dr. Chattopadhyay has previously written on politics and the 2016 election. In a chapter in An Unprecedented Election: Media, Communication, and the Electorate in the 2016 Campaign, Dr. Chattopadhyay analyzed survey data from more than 2,000 respondents to explore how authoritarian predispositions acted as a moderator between favorability toward Trump and other variables.

Kristy Sheeler
Professor of Communication Studies, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Kristy Sheeler studies the ways in which political identity is rhetorically constructed and contested in popular media. Dr. Sheeler is the co-author of Woman President: Confronting Postfeminist Political Culture. Woman President focuses on major-party and third-party campaigns by women and addresses the backlash that women candidates face in political and popular culture.

Ben Warner
Associate Professor of Communication, University of Missouri

Ben Warner is interested in the effects of partisan media, presidential debates, campaign ads, social media, and political humor. Much of Dr. Warner’s research explores the antecedents, consequences, and remedies of political polarization. In pursuit of these objectives, he draws on theories of persuasion, intergroup processes, and media psychology. Dr. Warner is presently the Chair of the political communication division of the National Communication Association.


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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