Alex Denison

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  • Ph.D. Candidate
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Head Teaching Assistant
  • Political Science
1606 Patterson Office Tower
Research Interests:
Office hours by appointment. 

University of Kentucky, PhD, Political Science (expected 2019)
Western Illinois University, MA, Political Science (2014)
University of Missouri, BJ, Broadcast Journalism (2012)


Alex Denison is a PhD candidate and instructor working in the areas of judicial politics, law, political behavior, and American institutions. A journalist by training, Alex worked in media for several years as a television reporter and anchor, news editor, radio host and columnist. His research now focuses predominantly on the media's role in capturing Supreme Court activities and the subsequent effects these portrayals have on public perceptions of the Court. 

Alex's research and dissertation work examines the relationship between the judiciary, the news media, and the general public, analyzing how judicial behavior and professional biases affect news coverage, and consequently, public attitudes toward the institution. Utilizing unique datasets of news articles covering decisions and confirmation hearings, Alex identifies trends in coverage that question both the media's ability to provide responsible coverage of the institution that bolsters democratic ideals, as well as ways in which justices and political actors can affect coverage.

Recent research projects include co-authored studies (with UK professors Dr. Justin Wedeking and Dr. Michael Zilis) into how Supreme Court justices' negative rhetoric in opinion content shapes news coverage of decisions, and whether news content adequately emphasizes the content of opinions. Alex's current ongoing projects include an investigation into how judicial behavior and news bias contribute to politicized portrayals of the Supreme Court, the impact of positive symbolism on public opinion in contrast to Americans' incongruence, and how race affects disparate perceptions of political freedom in the U.S. His broader research interests include the impact of political rhetoric, political psychology, and the implementation of judicial policies. His research can be found or is forthcoming in Social Science Quarterly, Michigan State University Law Review, and Elon Law Review. 

Alex teaches courses at the University of Kentucky in both American politics and judicial politics. He currently serves as the research assistant for the university's Quantitative Initiative for Policy and Social research. More information about QIPSR can be found here

Courses Offered

PS 101: Intro to American Politics
PS 360: Law and Courts
PS 391: Politics and Film

Selected Publications: 


Denison, Alexander, Justin Wedeking, and Michael Zilis. Forthcoming. "Negative Media Coverage of the Supreme Court: The Interactive Role of Opinion Language, Coaliton Size and Ideological Signals." Social Science Quarterly. 

Wedeking, Justin and Alexander Denison. 2018. "Using Text as Data to Measure Latent Legal Constructs: A Dictionary-Based Approach." Michigan State Law Review. 

Zilis, Michael, Alexander Denison, and Justin Wedeking. 2017. “Hitting the Bullseye in Supreme Court Coverage: News Quality in the Court’s 2014 Term.” Elon Law Review IX(2):489-523.


Wedeking, Justin and Alexander Denison. 2018. "The Confirmation Hearing Legacy of Antonin Scalia." The Conservative Revolution of Antonin Scalia. Eds. David Schultz and Howard Schweber. 

Denison, Alexander and Justin Wedeking. 2018. "Elena Kagan." Encyclopedia of Civil Rights and Liberties. Eds. John Scheb and Karen Stooksbury. 


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