Ashley Muddiman



Department of Communication Studies, The University of Kansas


Ashley, an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas in the Department of Communication Studies, earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Focused on political media effects, she has a particular interest in the nuances of digital news and the challenges of political incivility.
In her research, Ashley investigates how journalists and news users perceive and engage with online political incivility, the factors that influence news story choices in digital environments, how journalists can intervene in comment sections to make them less uncivil, and how clickbait headlines set expectations for news users. Ashley's most recent studies encompass topics such as the media's role during the COVID-19 pandemic, the complexities of online relational technology, and the dissemination of health misinformation. Ashley teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in subjects such as political communication, new media and politics, and research methods. Additionally, she explores and develops new methods for large-scale text analysis.

At THE NEW INSTITUTE, Ashley is involved in the program Depolarizing Public Debates. She will be joining us in May 2024.

  • What gives you hope?
    Face-to-face conversations with people in my communities give me hope. Media coverage of community problems is essential, but it can make problems seem mired in conflict and impossible to solve. When I take a moment to step away from this type of news and, instead, talk with students, family members, neighbors, political representatives, and others, I always feel more hopeful. I’m reminded that people in my communities recognize the problems we are facing and are working hard to try to solve them together.

  • How does change happen?
    By building social connections and taking collective action. It is easy to feel isolated, hopeless, and alone in societies that pressure people to act as individual consumers and voters. But working with others who are also trying to make change can remind us that, while individual actions are important, organizing with others amplifies our influence and gives us the social support necessary to keep going even when change is slow and frustrating.

  • List 3 important values in your life?

    1. Creativity
    2. Openness to experience
    3. Collaboration

Indexing theory during an emerging health crisis: How U.S. TV news indexed elite perspectives and amplified COVID-19 misinformation, (with Ceren Budak, Caroline Murray, Yujin Kim, Natalie J.Stroud), Annals of the International Communication Association, 2022

Descriptive and injunctive incivility norms in political campaigns: Differences across behavior type, candidate gender, and candidate party position, (with Lynzee Flores & Brandon Boyce), American Behavioral Scientist, 2022

Changing deliberative norms on news organizations' Facebook sites, (with Natalie J. Stroud, Josh M. Scacco, Alex L. Curry), Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 2015

Personal and public levels of political incivility, International Journal of Communication, 2017

News values, cognitive biases, and partisan incivility in comment sections, (with Natalie J. Stroud), Journal of Communication, 2017

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