Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


Professor Dominic Wring BA (Nottingham) PhD (Cambridge)

Photo of Professor Dominic Wring

Professor of Political Communication.

Since joining the University in 1997 I have been primarily engaged in exploring the relationships between the media, communication and politics.  I co-founded and then convened the UK Political Studies Association's Media Politics Group for a decade and subsequently served as Chair of the International Political Science Association’s Research Committee for Political Communication.  I also helped launch the Journal of Political Marketing, serving as its first European Editor and on its editorial board as well as those of the Journal of Public Affairs and the Central European Journal of Communication.  My work has been translated into French, Italian, Romanian and Spanish.  Currently I am lead editor of the Political Communication series of books, a volume of which has appeared after every British General Election since 1979.  I served as an expert witness during the UK Competition Commission inquiry into BSkyB’s controversial acquisition of ITV shares.

My primary research interest in political communication involves work on how different news media cover British politics and, more particularly, campaigns.  I have been involved in extensive content analyses of UK General Elections that first started two decades ago and 2015 will be our sixth campaign study.  An important dimension of this work, co-authored with David Deacon, has been to track and analyze the changing patterns of press partisanship.  Gone are the stark (and literally) black and white declarations that typified the ‘Tory press’ during the Thatcher era.  Eventually these eulogies were in part replaced by a so-called ‘Tony press’ whose endorsements were characteristically more qualified in their support of Blair (rather than his party).  Central to this process have been those newspapers controlled by Rupert Murdoch and more recently I have explored the hacking scandal through focusing on that proprietor’s relationship with successive governments.

My interest in the electoral process derives from earlier work on campaigning.  My monograph The Politics of Marketing of the Labour Party placed the so-called ‘New’ party’s approach in historical context by demonstrating how its embrace of professional techniques and expertise was- contrary to a received wisdom promoted by Philip Gould, Peter Mandelson and others- more a case of evolution than revolution. The book was well received:  ‘excellent study’ (Ivor Gaber, Journalism); ‘scrupulously well-researched, well-written and clearly argued…  demolishes a number of myths’ (Eric Shaw, Public Administration); 'a superb book. It whets the appetite — at least it did mine — leaving me wanting to know more about the Labour Party in the past... all good books leave you hungry. This one certainly does' (David Coates, British Politics).

My teaching explores the print, broadcast and advertising media.  Introductory modules consider the development and influence of newspapers, radio and television.  The unit Promotional Culture critically analyses the growth and importance of advertising, public relations and market research and these processes’ social, political and economic significance.  A postgraduate option Marketing Politics reviews how, when and why election campaigns have developed since the advent of mass democracy at the turn of the Twentieth Century.  Particular attention is given to the continuities and changes in strategies, techniques and the use of experts such as so-called ‘spin-doctors’ in the United States, Britain and elsewhere. 

I have extensive experience of supervising and examining PhD students and have also served as a guest lecturer and external examiner for universities in the UK, Europe and further afield.

  • Harmer, E. and Wring, D. (2013) ‘Julie and the Cybermums: marketing and women voters in the UK 2010 General Election’, Journal of Political Marketing, 12: 2-3, pp.262-73ISSN 15377857
  • Wring, D. (2012) ‘It’s Just Business: the Political Economy of the Hacking Scandal’, Media Culture and Society, 34:5, pp.631-36.  ISSN 01634437
  • Downey, J., Deacon, D., Stanyer, J. & Wring, D. (2012) Reporting the Arab Spring, for the BBC Trust, 115pp
  • Van Zoonen, L. and Wring, D. (2012) ‘Trends in Political Television Fiction in the UK: Themes, characters and narratives, 1965-2009, Media Culture and Society, 34:3, pp.263-79.  ISSN 01634437
  • Wring, D. (2011) ‘Telling It Like It Is: Focus groups as a political weapon’, in Sussman, G. (ed.) The Propaganda Society: Promotional Culture and Politics in Global Context, New York: Peter Lang, pp.283-96.  ISBN 9781433109966
  • Wring, D, Mortimore, R. & Atkinson, S. (2011 eds.) Political Communication in Britain: the Leader Debates, the Campaign and the Media in the 2010 General Election.  Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 368pp.  ISBN 9780230301450