The Wesleyan Media Project is directed by Professors Erika Franklin Fowler (Wesleyan University), Michael M. Franz (Bowdoin College) and Travis N. Ridout (Washington State University). The Project Manager is Laura Baum. An outstanding group of students from all three institutions support the project through ad coding, data management and other activities.


Professor of Government, Wesleyan University

Erika Franklin Fowler, PhD.

Erika Franklin Fowler (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin – Madison) is Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project.

Fowler specializes in large-scale analyses of political and health-related communication – from local media and campaign advertising in particular – in electoral and health policy settings, and her interdisciplinary work on the content and effect of messaging has been published in political science, communication, law/policy, and medical journals. She is also co-author of Political Advertising in the United States, and she has led WMP’s expansion into computational analyses of digital advertising.

At Wesleyan, Fowler teaches courses in American Politics, media and politics, campaigns and elections, public opinion, and empirical methods. Her courses typically feature research modules in the classroom, and she received Wesleyan’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2019.

Prior to arriving at Wesleyan University, she spent two years as a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan and five years as the Research Director of the University of Wisconsin NewsLab, one of the largest and most systematic local TV tracking projects ever conducted. In addition to her media commentary on election advertising, Fowler has extensive professional experience in conducting survey and focus group research. She also serves on the ABC News Election Night Decision Desk.

Professor of Government, Bowdoin College

Michael M. Franz, PhD.

Michael Franz (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin – Madison) is Professor of Government and Legal Studies at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME. His research interests include campaign finance, political advertising, and interest groups. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Persuasive Power of Campaign Advertising (Temple, 2011) and Choices and Changes: Interest Groups in the Electoral Process (Temple, 2008). He has published articles in such journals as, the Journal of Politics, American Journal of Political Science, American Politics Research, and Political Communication. Since 2010, he has been co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks and codes political ads in federal elections.
Professor of Political Science, Washington State University

Travis N. Ridout, PhD.

Travis N. Ridout is Thomas S. Foley Distinguished Professor of Government and Public Policy in the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at Washington State University. He is one of the country’s leading authorities on the topic of political advertising and serves as codirector of the Wesleyan Media Project, which studies and tracks political advertising. From 2014-2016, he served as chair of the Political Communication section of the American Political Science Association. Ridout received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003, and his research on political campaigns, political advertising and campaign finance has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Communication, Political Behavior, Political Psychology, Annual Review of Political Science, and in several books and book chapters. Ridout’s most recent book, Political Advertising in the United States, was published in 2016.

The WMP Team

Project Manager

Laura Baum

Laura Baum joined the Wesleyan Media Project in September 2012 as Project Manager. Based at Wesleyan University, Laura manages ongoing operations of the project's real-time tracking of television advertisements. Previously, Laura was the Project Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Philanthropy Project, run through the University of Pittsburgh. She grew up in Portland, OR and holds a BA from Brown University and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota.
Project Coordinator

Colleen Bogucki

Colleen Bogucki joined the Wesleyan Media Project in August 2019 as Project Coordinator. Based at Wesleyan University, Colleen manages WMP’s student research assistants who content code television advertisements and news content. She grew up in Milford, CT and holds a BA and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Connecticut.
Associate Director, QAC

Pavel Oleinikov

Pavel Oleinikov uses his background in social and natural sciences to advance the application of quantitative methods to data from the social world. He teaches courses on basics of Big Data, network analysis, text mining, and skills-focused courses. A large part of his work lies in assisting Wesleyan faculty in integrating diverse data sources in the form of text, images, and data from APIs. Pavel Oleinikov has a PhD in Political Science from University of California, Santa Barbara. His dissertation focused on paradigms of impatience and their quantitative investigation. For his MS thesis in computer engineering he studied applications of Hopfield-type neural networks to optimization tasks.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Markus Neumann

Markus Neumann’s research agenda revolves around the application of machine learning methods to social science data, particularly text, audio and images. He holds Bachelor and Masters degrees from the University of Mannheim and completed his graduate work in Social Data Analytics and Political Science at Penn State. His dissertation relies on tools from phonetics, electrical engineering and natural language processing to study nonverbal political communication, focusing on how U.S. senators shift their vocal style in accordance with the representational needs of their audience.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Jielu Yao

Jielu’s research interests center on political methodology and American politics. Particularly, she is interested in applying supervised, unsupervised, and deep learning techniques to non-traditional data such as text, image/video, and audio. Using WMP’s political ads, her dissertation examines crime rhetoric adopted by female and racial/ethnic minority candidates. Jielu received her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in Political Science in 2020.

Key Collaborators

Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Colleen L. Barry, PhD.

Colleen L. Barry, Ph.D., M.P.P. is the Fred and Julie Soper Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has a joint appointment in the Department of Mental Health. Professor Barry's research focuses on how health and social policies can affect a range of outcomes for individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders, including access to medical care and social services, care quality, health care spending, financial protection and mortality. She is involved in numerous research studies examining the implications of health insurance expansions and health care delivery system reform efforts on the treatment of mental illness and substance use disorders. She also conducts empirical research to understand how communication strategies influence public attitudes about opioid addiction, mental illness and gun policy. One focus of this work is to identify evidence-based approaches to reducing stigma. She has authored over 175 peer-reviewed articles on these topics. Dr. Barry is founding co-Director (with Elizabeth Stuart) of the Johns Hopkins Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy Research and is a core faculty member in the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. Professor Barry received her Ph.D. in health policy from Harvard University and her masters degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Associate Professor, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota

Sarah Gollust, PhD.

Public health research identifies numerous potential opportunities to improve population health. Yet when it comes to translating this research into policies and programs to improve public health, roadblocks emerge. My work looks to examine processes through which health information gets translated into the media, shapes public attitudes and opinions, and influences the health policy process. By describing the political, social, ethical, and psychological factors that moderate this process – and often pose as barriers – my research yields insight into how communication to the public and policymakers can be more effective. I have applied this research approach to several important public health challenges, including policies to address obesity, health disparities, the Affordable Care Act, and cancer screening and prevention.
Professor, Department of Communication, Cornell University

Jeff Niederdeppe, PhD.

Jeff Niederdeppe is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Cornell University. His research examines the mechanisms and effects of mass media campaigns, strategic health messages, and news coverage in shaping health behavior, health disparities, and social policy. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed articles in communication, public health, health policy, and medicine journals, and his work has been funded in recent years by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Town Creek Foundation.

He received the Early Career Award in 2016 from the Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section of the American Public Health Association and the Lewis Donohew Outstanding Scholar in Health Communication Award in 2014 from the Kentucky Conference on Health Communication. He is an Associate Editor of Communication Methods and Measures and serves on the editorial boards for eight other journals.

Wesleyan Team

See the Delta Lab (computational team) information here

Ruby Baden-Lasar (Class of 2023)
Zulema Cabrera-Hernandez (Class of 2022)
Aidan Champeau
(Class of 2023)
Milly Church (Class of 2023)
Yohely Comprés (Class of 2024)
Nikki Farahani (Class of 2022)
Simon Gaughan (Class of 2022)
David Gottlieb (Class of 2022)
Ned Herrington (Class of 2022)
Isha Jha (Class of 2023)
Andrew Kushnir (Class of 2022)
Olivia Ramseur (Class of 2023)
Thea Ranelli (Class of 2023)
Tess Solot-Kehl (Class of 2023)
Martha Wedner (Class of 2022)
Stuart Woodhams (Class of 2022)
Nolan Young (Class of 2022)
Theodore Zarobell (Class of 2023)

Bowdoin Team

Morgan Edwards (Class of 2022)


Husam A. Abdalla (Bowdoin College, Class of 2014)
Husam S. Abdul-kafi (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Mansoor Alam (Wesleyan University, Class of 2015)
Adam Aldrich (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Jalen Alexander (Wesleyan University, Class of 2014)
Judah Asimov (Wesleyan University, Class of 2013)
Joel Baxter (Washington State University, Class of 2010)
Melanie Berman (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
David Bernstein (Bowdoin College, Class of 2013)
Darcie Binder (Wesleyan University, Class of 2015)
Julia Boland (Wesleyan University, Ad Coding Supervisor, Class of 2020)
Joe Bolton (Washington State University)
Billy Brooks (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Ceara Maria Burns (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Josh Cardenas (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Wei-Ling Carrigan (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Taeo Carse (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Nicolas Cavallo (Wesleyan University, Class of 2013)
Chris Cherry (Washington State University, Class of 2010)
Robert Coli (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Frederick Corpuz (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Lianna Culp (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Meg Cummings (Wesleyan University, Ad Coding Supervisor, Class of 2020)
Sara Dean (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Spencer Dean (Wesleyan University, Class of 2021)
Tarara Deane-Krantz (Bowdoin College, Class of 2012)
Erica deMichiel (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Ben Diamond (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Kevin Donohoe (Wesleyan University, Class of 2012)
Riley Dougherty (Washington State University, Class of 2020)
Kaye Dyja (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Rachel Ellman (Wesleyan University, Class of 2015)
Thafir Elzofri (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Sonja English (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
R. Andrew Essington (Wesleyan University, Class of 2012)
Elizabeth Farrell (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Ben Firke (Wesleyan University, Class of 2012)
Jack Gorman (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Emily Greenspan (Wesleyan University, Class of 2016)
Dolly Haddad (Wesleyan University, Project Coordinator)
Meg Harrop (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Sophia Headley (Wesleyan University, Class of 2021)
Nathan Hey (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Justin Hintze
(Washington State University, Class of 2011)
Jenny L. Holland (Washington State University, Research Associate)
Isabella Holroyd (Washington State University)
Olivia Horton (Wesleyan University, Ad Coding Supervisor, Class of 2014)
Levi Huang (Wesleyan University, Class of 2018)
Laci Hubbard-Mattix (Washington State University)
Alex Hunt (Wesleyan University, Class of 2013)
Aleena Imran (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Julia Indivero (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Ayanna Joseph (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Lili Kadets (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Claudia Kahindi (Wesleyan University, Class of 2018)
Sarah Kang (Wesleyan University, Class of 2018)
Helen Klass-Warch (Wesleyan University, Class of 2018)
Zoe Klass-Warch (Wesleyan University, Class of 2021)
Ryan Katz (Wesleyan University, Class of 2013)
Jessica Katzen (Wesleyan University, Class of 2016)
Sabrina Khattab (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Daniel Kim (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Jake Kochanowsky (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Elizaveta Kravchenko (Wesleyan University, Data visualization team, Class of 2019)
Jenna Lacey (Wesleyan University, Class of 2021)
Courtney Laermer (Wesleyan University, Ad Coding Supervisor, Class of 2017)
Alessio Larios (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Saïd Lasrifi (Wesleyan University, Grad)
Marshal Lawler (Wesleyan University, Class of 2016)
Alice Lee (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Gannon Leech (Bowdoin College, Class of 2021)
Benjamin Lefkowitz (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Lance Lepelstat (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Emma Lewis (Wesleyan University, Class of 2011)
Matthew Lichtash (Wesleyan University, Class of 2013)
Michael Linden (Wesleyan University, Ad Coding Supervisor, Class of 2015)
Isabella Litke (Wesleyan University, Class of 2012)
Cici Liu (Wesleyan University, Class of 2014)
Leonid Liu (Wesleyan University, Class of 2014)
Eliza Loomis (Wesleyan University, Ad Coding Supervisor, Class of 2015)
Nicolas Magalhaes (Bowdoin College)
Aditi Mahesh (Wesleyan University, Class of 2021)
Alison Mann (Wesleyan University, Ad Coding Supervisor, Class of 2017)
Bianca Marquez (Wesleyan University, Class of 2015)
Aidan Martinez (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Ben Marvin-Vanderryn (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Eli Maskin (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Audrey Mattoon (Washington State University)
Rebecca McCord (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Sadasia McCutchen (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Tristan McCormick (Bowdoin College, Class of 2013)
Allison McGlone (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Kevin McMorrow (Data visualization team; Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Samuel Medrano (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Sofia Melian-Morse (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Liza Messinger (Wesleyan University, Class of 2013)
Callie Monroe (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Hanna Moody (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Cassidy Morales (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Matthew Motta (Research Associate; Wesleyan University, Ad Coding Supervisor, Class of 2013)
Elizabeth Mullaney (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
John Murchison (Wesleyan University, Class of 2016)
Saadia Naeem (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Vu Ahn Nguyen (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Hannah Norman (Wesleyan University, Class of 2016)
Chima Nwachukwa (Washington State University, Class of 2011)
Kayla O’Brien (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Remi Ojurongbe (Wesleyan University, Class of 2014)
Oladoyin Oladapo (Wesleyan University, Class of 2014)
Dominic Oliver (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Jesse Overholser (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Max Owen-Dunow (Wesleyan University, Class of 2015)
Amar J. Patel (Bowdoin College, Class of 2013)
Maddy Paull (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Ross Petchler (Wesleyan University, Class of 2012)
Paul Petrauskas (Washington State University, Class of 2014)
Justin Pottle (Wesleyan University, Ad Coding Supervisor, Class of 2013)
Elliot Polur (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Austin Pope (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Alexandra Prendergast (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Sam Prescott (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Eleanor Raab (Ad Coding Supervisor, Class of 2021)
Sean Regan (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Bryan Rice (Wesleyan University, Class of 2015)
Sean Ross (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Jessi Russell (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Arianna Sanf (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Samantha Savitch (Wesleyan University, Class of 2015)
Alex Schein (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Althea Schenck (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Kathleen Searles (Ph.D., Washington State University, Political Science, 2011)
Conner Sexton (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Lizzie Shackney (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Rabia Shahid (Wesleyan University, Class of 2013)
Jenna Shapiro (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Taylor Shea (Washington State University)
Emma Sherman (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Janet Shin (Wesleyan University, Class of 2018)
David Shor (Wesleyan University, Class of 2013)
Benjamin Sickle (Bowdoin College)
Brandon Sides (Wesleyan University, Class of 2018)
Alexandra Sobor (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Saaria Sohail (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Aaron Stagoff-Belfort (Wesleyan University, Class of 2018)
Anthony Strack (Wesleyan University, Class of 2018)
Ben Sullivan (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Daniel Sullivan (Wesleyan University, Class of 2013)
Ammie Tea (Wesleyan University, Class of 2018)
Russell Thomas (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Jackie Thompson (Washington State University, Class of 2011)
Melissa Thornton (Wesleyan University, Class of 2020)
Sophie Townsend (Wesleyan University, Class of 2021)
Katie Tyner (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Rachel Unger (Wesleyan University, Class of 2015)
James Walkup (Wesleyan University, Class of 2012)
Rachel Warren (Wesleyan University, Class of 2014)
Andrea Weires (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Alexa Wheeler (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Redd Whetsel (Washington State University, Class of 2020)
Timothy Wolock (Wesleyan University, Class of 2013)
Grace Wong (Wesleyan University, Class of 2018)
Zach Wulderk (Wesleyan University, Class of 2015)
Sarah Yates (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Orion Yoesle (Washington State University)
Michael Yoshida (Wesleyan University, Class of 2012)
Elizabeth Young (Wesleyan University, Class of 2019)
Jielu Yao (Wesleyan University, Pre-Doctoral Fellow, 2019)
Julia Yu (Wesleyan University, Class of 2017)
Ethan Zornow (Wesleyan University, Class of 2016)