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Professor and Senior Scholar, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland

Sarah Oates is a scholar in the field of political communication and democratization. A major theme in her work is the way in which the traditional media and the internet can support or subvert democracy in places as diverse as Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Oates also is the Research Director for the college and an affiliate professor in the UMD Department of Communication.

Oates has published many books, articles, chapters and papers on topics including how the internet can challenge dictatorship, how election coverage varies in different countries and how national media systems cover terrorism in distinctive ways. One of her most recent books, “Revolution Stalled: The Political Limits of the Internet in the Post-Soviet Sphere” (Oxford University Press) found faint hope for online mobilization in Russia. She teaches undergraduates, graduates and supervises doctoral dissertations in digital politics, political communication and journalistic norms. Her current work examines how political messages travel through media ecosystems, analyzing why some stories gain more attention than others from audiences. This includes work on how Donald Trump gained huge public attention via the media in the 2016 election.

Before embarking on her academic career, Oates was a journalist who published in outlets ranging from the Orlando Sentinel to The New York Times. She has lived, studied and worked in Scotland and Russia. You can view more about her work and download selected work at You can follow her on Twitter @media_politics.


  • –present
    Professor of journalism, University of Maryland