Dr. David Clementson

Assistant Professor, Public Relations

About: Dr. Clementson teaches undergraduate- and graduate-level public relations. His research examines the effects of public figures and politicians dodging questions. When he isn’t on campus teaching, running experiments, and cheering for the Bulldawgs, he loves watching the Atlanta Braves and the Oakland Athletics, and he plays the drums. He and his wife Laura have a son, Edward, who is bilingual in English and Brazilian Portuguese.

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Ph.D., Communication, The Ohio State University
M.A., Communication Studies, University of Miami
B.A., Political Science, James Madison University

Research Interests and Activities

Dr. Clementson runs experiments testing how politicians and business spokespersons dodge reporters’ questions and whether audiences notice. He builds theoretical models that explore how the public will cognitively process deception in media interviews. His latest studies assess whether the public can detect when a company spokesperson is dodging questions amidst a company crisis, and the different ways a public figure might deceive audiences. His work has been published in Public Relations Review, Political Psychology, Communication Studies, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Discourse & Communication, Mass Communication and Society, International Journal of Sport Communication and Journal of Political Marketing. His research has also appeared in Politico, NPR, NBC News, the Boston Globe, the Daily Mail, Scientific American, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle, the Huffington Post, the New York Post, the Washington Examiner, New York magazine, Psychology Today and Newsweek.

David Clementson received a $500 grant from the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations David Clementson

David Clementson received a $500 grant from the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations, at San Diego State University to test narrative persuasion strategies and crisis communication in a media relations context.

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Why won’t you answer the question? Mass-mediated deception detection after journalists’ accusations of politicians’ evasion David Clementson

Abstract: Journalists often accuse politicians of dodging questions. Truth-default theory (TDT) predicts that when journalists serve as de facto deception detectors, the audience will process the messaging through a cognitive sequence that lowers the perceived trustworthiness of the politician. Conversely, the public’s perception of the media as being generally hostile and biased in their reporting […]

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How web comments affect perceptions of political interviews and journalistic control. David Clementson

Abstract: People are often exposed to polarized viewpoints in web comment sections. Inspired by attribution theory and framing theory, this article tests the effects of comments that frame a politician or a journalist as triggering evasiveness in a media interview. We compare attributions ascribing deceptiveness to the politician versus external attributions implicating the media situation. […]

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Do public relations practitioners perceptually share ingroup affiliation with journalists? David Clementson

Abstract: Upwards of 200 studies over the past hundred years have reported on the relationship between public relations practitioners and journalists. However, no experiment has compared the group members’ perceptions when seeing their roles in action. Inspired by frameworks of social identity theory, intergroup deception, and the black sheep effect, we test how public relations […]

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Teaching Specialties

Dr. Clementson’s teaching specialties include: introduction to public relations (graduate-level), public relations (honors undergraduate-level), public relations campaigns (undergraduate- and graduate-level) and quantitative research methods.


Dr. Clementson’s public relations and political communication research is inspired by his professional background. He worked in journalism, politics and public relations for about a decade. He was a journalist for newspapers and magazines, primarily covering politics and government. He ran successful political campaigns for Democrats and Republicans in several states along the U.S. East Coast. He also served as a communication director for a public relations, marketing and advertising firm, a professional opposition researcher for politicians, and the director of communication and press secretary for Attorney Generals. Before coming to UGA, Dr. Clementson was an assistant professor of public relations at California State University, Sacramento, where he was a co-advisor to PRSSA.


In the News

Clementson awarded grant from Broom Center for theory-driven industry research

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Grady researcher studies the effect of comments associated with political interviews

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