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Political Science

Erik Peterson

Causes and Consequences of News Media Reputations
2016–17 Survey Lab Project

Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with the news media in general and, in particular, the perceived slant of political news coverage. This project seeks to address two questions. First, what underpins public perceptions of media slant in campaign coverage? Second, how do individuals respond when they encounter news coverage from an outlet they perceive as favoring the other party? These projects will contribute to an understanding of how media effects work in an environment where media outlets possess distinct ideological reputations.

How Local News Shapes Evaluations of Politician Performance
2014 CSS Fellowship

In collaboration with Jonathan Mummolo.

Democratic accountability requires voters to evaluate elected officials based on their performance in office, however, media reports may cause voters to obtain an unrepresentative view of what political figures have accomplished. If incumbents set the terms of coverage, the media may serve their interests rather than those of voters.

This project will use computational methods to examine the media's role in performance voting in gubernatorial elections across several issue domains: the economy, crime and education. Using a dataset which combines gubernatorial press releases and text from local newspaper articles spanning roughly a decade, this project will examine how the interplay between governors and journalists produces news and, in turn, how this coverage alters public opinion.