Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs, Director of the M.A. in Media and Strategic Communication
Before joining the SMPA faculty in 2009, Catie received her doctorate in political science from UCLA with concentrations in American Politics, Formal and Quantitative Methods and International Relations. Throughout Catie's academic career, her research has primarily focused on the intersection of politics and information and communication technologies (ICTs).
As ICTs continue to diffuse rapidly throughout the globe, opportunities abound to explore how these technologies interact with national and temporal factors to influence political attitudes, behaviors and outcomes. Moreover, taking into account the economic and political failings and inefficiencies that continue to plague many nations in these regions, there is also practical value to be derived from a clearer understanding of the potential political effects of ICT.
Catie's approach to research is multi-methodological, with a particular preference for merging cutting edge quantitative analyses with randomized field experiments. In combination, these methods provide a robust and rigorous empirical foundation for studies of media effects.
While the majority of early political communication research focused on the television's impact on electoral outcomes in the United States, Catie’s research agenda has always been focused on broadening the field by focusing on political outcomes beyond elections, beyond the American borders and media technologies beyond television. As part of this effort, Catie was the first to research the effect of mobile phones on corruption in Africa, the first to conduct a comparative analysis of the internet’s impact on democratic attitudes, the first to demonstrate empirical effects of crowdsourced election-monitoring in Africa (with colleague Steve Livingston) and the first to implement field experiments testing the effects of ICT on democratic attitudes in developing countries.
In acknowledgment of this pioneering work, Catie received the prestigious Sanders-Kaid award from the International Communication Association for best paper published in political communication in 2012. Her paper, “Testing the Internet’s Effect on Democratic Satisfaction: A Multi-Methodological, Cross-National Approach,” was chosen unanimously by the five-person committee, out of an initial pool of 300 political communication papers published in the twenty-three most prominent political science and communication journals. She was also awarded the 2015 Best Book Award by the American Political Science Association in the field of Information Technology and Politics for her book, Democracy’s Double-Edged Sword: How Internet Use Changes Citizens’ Views of their Government.
Other recent publications include a comparative analysis of the effect of Chinese media in Africa on local public opinion, the effect of mobile phones on the probability of intrastate conflict, and the effect of broadcast corporations’ bottom lines on the tenor of news produced by their respective outlets.
Catie is a fifth-generation Californian and, before moving to the District of Columbia, she was a lifelong resident of the Golden State. Born and raised in the San Francisco area, with several years in Los Angeles during her studies, Catie inherited a strong appreciation for both Southern and Northern California sports teams (much to the chagrin and confusion of many Californians)—while the 49ers, Warriors and San Francisco Giants are her first loves, she is also a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers.