Dr. Mitchell McKinney teaches courses in political communication, and rhetorical theory and criticism. His research interests include presidential debates, political campaigns, media and politics, and presidential rhetoric. McKinney is the co-author/editor of 5 books, including Communication in the 2008 U.S. Election: Digital Natives Elect a President (with Mary C. Banwart), The 1992 Presidential Debates in Focus (with Diana B. Carlin), Civic Dialogue in the 1996 Presidential Campaign (with Lynda Lee Kaid & John C. Tedesco), and two edited volumes of political communication studies, including The Millennium Election: Communication in the 2000 Campaign, and Communicating Politics: Engaging the Public in Democratic Life. His research appears in major communication, journalism, and political science journals, including Journal of Communication, Communication Monographs, Communication Studies, Journalism Studies, and American Behavioral Scientist.
McKinney has combined practical political experience with his training as a political communication scholar, having served as a staff member in the U.S. Senate and at the White House. He has served as a consultant to C-SPAN and also the U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates, advising the Commission on how debates might be structured in order to better educate voters. Dr. McKinney also served as an adviser for the Korean government as officials planned their 2002 televised presidential debates. Dr. McKinney has provided expert political commentary for such national media as the New York Times, USA Today, CNN and NPR.
In 2006-07, McKinney served as Director of Academic Affairs for the National Communication Association (NCA) where he was responsible for the association's academic programming and initiatives in the areas of scholarship, research and teaching. In 2002, McKinney was selected as one of five teacher-scholars to facilitate NCA's Hope Institute for Faculty Development. He is the founding Chair of the Central States Communication Association's Political Communication Interest Group, and he has also served as Chair of NCA's Political Communication Division. In 2012, Dr. McKinney will become President of the Central States Communication Association.
Frequently Taught Courses
Selected Recent Publications
McKinney, M. S., & Rill, L. A., & Watson, R. G. (2011). Who framed Sarah Palin: Viewer reactions to the 2008 vice presidential debate. American Behavioral Scientist , 55(3), 212-231 .
McKinney, M. S., Rill, L. A., & Gully, D. (2011). Political engagement through presidential debates: Attitudes of political engagement throughout the 2008 election. In M. S. McKinney & M. C. Banwart (Eds), Communication in the 2008 U.S. election: Digital natives elect a president (pp. 121-142). New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
Rill, L. A., & McKinney, M. S. (2011). Talking politics: Young citizens' interpersonal interaction during the 2008 presidential campaign. In M. S. McKinney & M. C. Banwart (Eds), Communication in the 2008 U.S. election: Digital natives elect a president (pp. 51- 70). New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
McKinney, M. S., & Banwart, M. C. (2011). The election of a lifetime. In M. S. McKinney & Mary C. Banwart (Eds.), Communication in the 2008 U.S. election: Digital natives elect a president (pp. 1-9). New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
McKinney, M. S., & Banwart, M. C. (2010). The Biden – Palin 2008 vice presidential debate: An examination of gender and candidate issue expertise. In J. A. Hendricks & L. L. Kaid (Eds), Techno politics in presidential campaigning: New voices, new technologies, and new voters (pp. 158-174). New York: Routledge.
McKinney, M. S., & Rill, L. A. (2009). Not your parents' presidential debates: Examining the effects of the CNN/YouTube debates on young citizens' civic engagement. Communication Studies, 60, 393-407.
McKinney, M. S., Davis, C. B., & Delbert, J. (2009). The first – and last – woman standing: Analyzing Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential primary debate performance. In T.F. Sheckels (Ed.), Cracked but not shattered: Hillary Rodham Clinton's unsuccessful campaign for the presidency (pp. 197-213). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
Kaid, L. L., McKinney, M. S., & Tedesco, J. C. (2009). Political communication. In L. R. Frey & K. N. Cissna (Eds.), Handbook of applied communication (pp. 254-276). Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers.
McKinney, M. S. (2008). Political campaign debates. In L. L. Kaid & C. Holtz-Bacha (Eds.), Encyclopedia of political communication . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
McKinney, M. S. (2008). On becoming an informed voter: Understanding young citizens' media diet. Business Research Yearbook, 15 , 190-198.
McKinney, M. S., & Chattopadhyay, S. (2007). Political engagement through debates: Young citizens' reactions to the 2004 presidential debates. American Behavioral Scientist, 50 , 1169-1182
Tedesco, J. C., McKinney, M. S. (2007). On the young voters' agenda: Exploring issue salience during the 2004 presidential election. American Behavioral Scientist, 50 , 1290-1297.
Kaid, L. L., McKinney, M. S., & Tedesco, J. C. (2007). Political information efficacy and young voters. American Behavioral Scientist, 50 , 1093-1111.
McKinney, M. S. (2007). Presidential debates. In T. Schaefer & T. Birkland (Eds.), Encyclopedia of media and politics (pp. 221-224). Washington, DC: CQ Press.
William T. Kemper Fellow for Excellence in Teaching