Press Room

Communication Scholars Available to Discuss January Democratic Presidential Primary Debate

January 8, 2020
Experts Available

The Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary are just a month away, but only five candidates have qualified for the January Democratic debate so far. The National Communication Association can put reporters in touch with leading Communication scholars who specialize in presidential rhetoric, women in politics, and presidential campaigns. These experts are well-equipped to address a variety of questions about the debate and the Democratic primary including: 

  • What might candidates do to engage Iowa voters at this debate? 
  • What challenges do the candidates face when trying to persuade voters? 
  • What can candidates left off the stage do to try to make it into the next debate? 
  • How can candidates use this opportunity to increase support in key states?


Dianne Bystrom
Director Emerita of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, Iowa State University

Dr. Bystrom researches the styles and strategies used by female and male political candidates in their television advertising, websites and social media and the coverage of women candidates and political leaders by the media. Bystrom is a contributor, co-author or co-editor of 21 books and has written journal articles on women and politics, youth voters and the Iowa caucus.

Mitchell S. McKinney
Professor of Communication and Director of the Political Communication Institute, University of Missouri

Dr. McKinney researches topics related to political communication and political campaigns, such as how to engage citizens in civic and political processes. Dr. McKinney is also an expert in debates and has served as a consultant for the Commission on Presidential Debates. Dr. McKinney’s expertise was influential in the creation of “townhall” style debates. 

Mary Stuckey
Associate Head and Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, Pennsylvania State University 

Dr. Stuckey specializes in political and presidential rhetoric, political communication, and American Indian politics. Dr. Stuckey’s current book project is on the rhetoric of political change. Dr. Stuckey is Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Speech and co-edits (with Mitchell McKinney) Peter Lang’s series, The Frontiers of Political 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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