Sean Aday

Headshot of Sean Aday

Sean Aday

Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs and International Affairs

Full-time Faculty


Email: Sean Aday
Office Phone: (202) 994-4220
Fax: (202) 994-5806

Sean Aday joined the George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs in 2000, after completing his Ph.D. and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His work focuses on the intersection of the press, politics and public opinion, especially in relation to war and foreign policy, public diplomacy and the role of digital media in democracy movements and countering violent extremism.

Dr. Aday has published widely on subjects ranging from the effects of watching local television news, to coverage of American politics and media coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been involved in global media and government capacity training projects, including work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For seven years, Dr. Aday directed GW’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication and its Global Communication M.A. program.

Dr. Aday is currently the principal investigator on a grant from the Hewlett Foundation to study media coverage of cyber security issues. For several years before that, he was a co-PI on the "Blogs and Bullets" research program funded by the U.S. Institute of Peace, which produced numerous articles and reports analyzing digital and social media in social movements and conflicts ranging from the Arab Spring to the Syrian civil war. Prior to that, he, along with two colleagues, conducted a series of surveys about Americans' attitudes about government and media following the September 11th terrorist attacks. Aday was also the principal investigator for DC Student Voices, a curriculum-based project in Washington D.C. high schools that aimed to get students more involved in politics. He has been a frequent commentator in the press on news coverage of elections, crime and war."

Before entering academia, Dr. Aday served as a general assignment reporter for The Kansas City Star, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Greenville News (South Carolina). He graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1990.

Political communication; media coverage of war, politics, and foreign policy; media effects and public opinion, including political and international trust

Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania


SMPA 1050 Media in a Free Society

SMPA 2010 Journalism and Mass Communication Theory and Practice

SMPA 2102 Introduction to Political Communication

SMPA 3461 Campaigns and Elections

SMPA 3194 Selected Topics in Political Communication: Media and War

SMPA 6202 Media Theory and Effects

SMPA 3466 Media and War

SMPA 4199 Senior Seminar