Amber E. Boydstun

Amber Boydstun Portrait

Position Title
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

684 Kerr Hall
1 Shields Avenue, Davis CA 95616


  • Ph.D., Political Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 2008
  • M.A., Political Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 2004
  • B.A., Philosophy/Mathematics, St. John’s College, 1999


Amber E. Boydstun is a professor in political science with expertise in American institutions, public policy, political communication and political psychology. Her research bridges across disciplines, with much of her work co-authored with scholars from psychology, journalism, and computer science. Her research centers on the causes, dynamics, and political effects of media attention and media framing. She works with scholars across the globe as a member of the Comparative Agendas Project, a collaborative enterprise by political science and policy scholars to measure international government outputs. She serves on the editorial boards for the Text as Data Association and the Women Also Know Stuff initiative.

Research Focus

Professor Boydstun’s research examines the interaction between media and politics, with a focus on how different media portrayals of the same policy issue can prompt citizens and policymakers to respond to that issue in different ways. She uses lab experiments, large-scale media studies, and manual and computational text analysis to study how issues make the news; the dynamics of “media storms;” and how media coverage can shape public opinion about policy issues like immigration, gun control, same-sex marriage and capital punishment. Her 2013 book, Making the News: Politics, the Media, and Agenda Setting (University of Chicago Press), unpacks the forces that drive the news and highlights the role of the media as a critical institution in the shaping of public policy. She is also co-author of The Decline of the Death Penalty and the Discovery of Innocence (Cambridge University Press), as well as many journal articles.


  • Barbera ́, Pablo, Amber E. Boydstun, Suzanna Linn, Jonathan Nagler, and Ryan McMahon. Forthcoming. “Automated Text Classification of News Articles: A Practical Guide.” Political Analysis.
  • Boydstun, Amber E. and Regina G. Lawrence. 2019. “When Celebrity and Political Journalism Collide: Reporting Standards, Entertainment, and the Conundrum of Covering Donald Trump’s 2016 Campaign.” Perspectives on Politics.
  • Boydstun, Amber E., Jessica T. Feezell, and Rebecca A. Glazier. 2018. "In the Wake of a Terrorist Attack, Do Americans? Attitudes Toward Muslims Decline?" Research and Politics.
  • Boydstun, Amber E., Benjamin Highton, and Suzanna Linn. 2018. "Isolating the Effects of Economic Performance and Economic Media Coverage on Economic Attitudes." Political Research Quarterly.
  • Lawrence, Regina G. and Amber E. Boydstun. 2017. "The Trump Conundrum." Columbia Journalism Review, (Fall Issue).
  • Boydstun, Amber E., Alison Ledgerwood, and Jehan Sparks. 2017. "A Negativity Bias in Reframing Shapes Political Preferences Even in Partisan Contexts." Social Psychological and Personality Science. In Press.
  • Boydstun, Amber E., Rens Vliegenthart, Stefaan Walgrave, and Anne Hardy. 2017. "The Non-Linear Effect of Information on Political Attention: Media Storms and US Congressional Hearings." Political Communication. In Press.
  • Card, D., Boydstun, A. E., Gross, J. H., Resnik, J., & Smith, N. A. (2015) "The media frames corpus: Annotations of frames across issues." In Proceedings of Association for Computational Linguistics Conference (ACL).
  • Boydstun, A. E. (2013) Making the News: Politics, the Media, and Agenda Setting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Baumgartner, F. R., De Boef, S. L., & Boydstun, A. E. (2008) The Decline of the Death Penalty and the Discovery of Innocence. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Professor Boydstun teaches upper-division undergraduate courses in media and politics (POL 165), policy agenda-setting (POL 109), and the presidency (POL 106), and every four years a lower-division course on the current American presidential election (POL 5). At the graduate level, she teaches research design, issue framing, and presidential rhetoric.


  • Fellowship at The Hoover Institution, Stanford University (2020-2021).
  • Chancellor's Fellowship, UC Davis (2017-2021).
  • College of Letters & Science Teaching Award, UC Davis (2018).
  • Outstanding Advising Award for Faculty Academic Advising, the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) (2018).
  • Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award, UC Davis (2017).
  • Bloomberg Research Grant (2016–2017).
  • National Science Foundation Grant: “The Asymmetric Sequential Effects of Gain and Loss Media Frames on Economic Attitudes” (with Alison Ledgerwood), NSF Political Science Program No. SES-1211266 (September 1, 2012–2014).
  • National Science Foundation Grant: “Data-Driven, Computational Models for Discovery and Analysis of Framing” (with Noah Smith, Philip Resnik, and Justin Gross), NSF Social-Computational Systems Program, No. IIS-1211266 (2012–2015).
  • Hellman Fellowship, UC Davis, recognizing “young faculty in the core disciplines who show capacity for great distinction in their research and creative activities” (2011–2012).
  • Amazon Web Services Education Research Grant (2011).
  • Marie Curie International Fellowship, European Union Commission (2010–2011).
  • National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant: “Agenda Setting and Issue Framing Dynamics on Front Page News,” NSF Political Science Program No. SES-0617492 (2006–2007).