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Wiliam Allen wins APSA Best Dissertation Award

The Politics DPhil has been awarded the Thomas E. Patterson Award for his 2019 dissertation ‘Messaging Migration: Media Agenda-Setting, Immigration Attitudes, and the Effects of Evidence on Perceptions and Policy Preferences.’

William Allen was given the prize by the Political Communication Section of the American Political Science Association and recognises the best dissertation completed in the field of political communication in the previous year.

Allen’s 2019 dissertation, written under the supervision of James Tilley, addressed how the British press portrayed immigration and immigrants over several decades. Using this material, the work explored how messages impact what people think with an approach that drew upon political communication, psychology, and linguistics.

The Committee was chaired by Philip Habel (University of South Alabama) and included Jonathan Nagler (New York University) and Nuri Kim (Nanyang Technological University). They commented: ‘Allen's dissertation addresses the important and timely question of how the news media affects attitudes on immigration. Drawing on rich sources of data including pairing large-scale analysis of media coverage with public opinion; analyses of media frames; and survey experiments, Allen gives us a new lens for understanding both the powers and limitations of media agenda setting and media effects on citizen attitudes.’

Allen is currently a Supernumerary Teaching Fellow in Politics at St John’s College and a researcher with the Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity at the Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS), working on public messaging about migration and integration issues.