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Danielle Vinson authors book about Congress and the media

Furman University Professor C. Danielle Vinson has authored a new book, Congress and the Media: Beyond Institutional Power (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Vinson’s new book explores four decades of Congress and its interactions with the media.

In the volume, Vinson goes back in history four decades to examine how members of Congress have increasingly embraced media relations as a way to influence national policymaking and politics.

In 1977, nearly half of congressional members had no press secretary. Today, media relations is a central component of most congressional offices, and more of that communications effort is directed toward national media, not just the local press.

Arguing that members of Congress turn to the media to enhance their formal powers or to compensate for their lack of power, Congress and the Media explains why congressional members go public and when they are likely to succeed in getting news coverage.

Vinson uses content analysis of national newspaper and television coverage of congressional members over time and members’ messages on social media as well as case studies to examine how members in different political circumstances use the media to influence policymaking and how this has changed over time. More than 30 undergraduate students assisted Vinson with research for the volume.

“In Congress and the Media, Danielle Vinson expertly blends content analysis, case studies, and personal interviews to produce the best general treatment of ‘going public’ on Capitol Hill in many years,” said C. Lawrence Evans, Professor of Government and Public Policy at William and Mary. “The book is a must-read for legislative scholars and a worthy addition to courses about the national legislature.”

Danielle Vinson is a Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Furman University. Her teaching and research interests focus on institutions in American government with a particular emphasis on Congress and the media. She teaches courses on Congress, the Presidency, Media and Politics, and American Government and regularly directs the Department’s Washington internship program.

After completing her Ph.D. in political science at Duke University, she joined the faculty at Furman in 1995 and served as Chair of the Department from 2009 to 2015. She is the author of the book, Local Media Coverage of Congress and Its Members, and has written articles and chapters on Congress and the media, political parties and the media, religion and politics in the media, and communication and spending in political campaigns.

Congress and the Media is now available through Amazon. For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

Last updated March 18, 2017
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director