James Dennis is Senior Lecturer in Political Communication and Journalism at the University of Portsmouth. His research interests lie in political communication, with a particular focus on social media, political participation and citizenship, and digital news. James' work has been published in the Journal of Information Technology and Politics, Journalism Studies, and Political Studies. His first monograph, Beyond Slacktivism: Political Participation on Social Media, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. This builds on his PhD research, for which he was awarded the American Political Science Association Information Technology and Politics Section Best Dissertation Award. James is a Co-Convenor of the Political Studies Association Media and Politics Group.

Following the Understanding and Examining the Digital Advocacy Pioneers workshop at the University of Portsmouth, Nina Hall (Johns Hopkins University) and James prepared a special issue of the Journal of Information Technology and Politics (2020) — Innovation and adaptation throughout the digital eras.

James has experience of working with industry, carrying out social media research with the BBC World Service and the British Council. He has been a guest contributor for openDemocracy and the Political Studies Association blog and has provided commentary on digital politics for national and international media, including BBC Radio and TV, the Financial Times, and the Guardian. James maintains a personal research site at and can be found on Twitter at @jameswilldennis.

James welcomes proposals from prospective PhD candidates interested in political communication, digital journalism and the changing news media environment, and social media and political participation.

Current PhD students include:

  • Sarah Cheverton, How can Hyperlocal News be Analysed in the Context of Global "Fake News"? (first supervisor).
  • Paul Foster, Misinformation and the Regional Press: Finding an Antidote to the ‘Digital Disease’ and Rebuilding Trust (first supervisor).
  • Ryan Johnston, Exploring Impartiality Within the BBC: A Comparative Analysis of 2015, 2017, and 2019 UK General Elections (second supervisor).
  • Kris Nolan, Student Political Activism in Student’s Own Words (second supervisor).
  • Jason Searle, Political Communications Management of Crisis Discourse Through Language and Rhetoric: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the UK Government’s COVID-19 Press Briefings (first supervisor).

Completed PhD students include:

  • Amandine Hostein, The Role of the Internet in Enabling the Emergence of NGOs as Public Spheres (second supervisor).

Research interests

  • Political communication

  • Social media

  • Digital news

  • Political participation and citizenship

  • British politics

  • Social mobility and inequality