LSU’s Manship School Announces 2014 Academy of Applied Politics

LSU’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs and the Manship School of Mass Communication announces the return of the Manship School’s Academy of Applied Politics, an eight-week seminar on the latest developments in campaign strategies and tactics. The academy will be led by political experts from around the country. Each week the academy will focus on a different topic about current developments in campaigns and elections. 

Classes will be held on Thursday evenings this spring from 6-8 p.m. in the Journalism Building on LSU’s campus. The academy’s semester will begin with orientation on March. The academy will run March 6 through April 24, 2014.

Some of the topics this year will cover “big data,” using polling to shape messaging and Louisiana politics in 2014. More information on the course topics can be found at

Christopher Mann was appointed as director of the Academy of Applied Politics for 2014. Mann brings extensive experience in politics to directing the 2014 academy. Before coming to LSU, he was a campaign consultant in Washington, D.C. following a career as a campaign manager for congressional and statewide candidates, executive director of a state party and working for several campaign organizations. He was a pioneer in micro-targeting and other “big data” analytics and was one of the founders of the Analyst Institute, the leading data and analytics organization for Democrats and their allies. He is an expert on political communication, especially voter mobilization tactics. In addition to his practical political experience, Mann received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University.

“The academy’s approach to practical politics is designed for anyone interested in understanding today’s sophisticated electoral and public affairs campaigns, working for a campaign or running for office,” said Mann.

“The academy reflects the Manship political communication program’s commitment to teaching how to succeed in today’s campaigns,” he added.

The course is open to the public, although enrollment will be capped at 35. The tuition is $550. A 10-percent discount is available for LSU alumni and parents of current students. A limited number of Manship School of Mass Communication students will be admitted to the program on scholarship.

Participants attending at least six of the eight sessions will earn a certificate attesting that they have successfully completed the Academy’s course of study.

Applications must be submitted by Feb. 7. Applications are available at

Applications can be emailed to Christopher Mann, director of the Manship School’s Academy of Applied Politics,, or mailed to: Manship School’s Academy of Applied Politics, c/o Christopher Mann, 211 Journalism Building, Baton Rouge, LA 70803

Scheduled speakers for the 2014 Academy of Applied Politics include:

·  Charlie Cook & Jennifer Duffy will lead a panel on how new tactics, tools and technologies, as well as changes in the political landscape and campaign finance regulations, will make the 2014 U.S. Senate race different from anything we have seen before in Louisiana. Charlie Cook is the editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report and the nation’s leading campaign analyst. He is also a Louisiana native. Jennifer Duffy is the senior editor of the Cook Political Report responsible for U.S. Senate races. She is one of the nation’s leading political analysts in her own right and former press secretary for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

·  Jennifer Johnson will discuss the role of public opinion polling by state legislative campaigns and state legislative policy development. Her work includes polling for state legislative caucuses across the country, as well as many other candidates, corporations and political organizations. She is Principal of LJR Custom Strategies with offices in Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C.

·  Gerry Tyson will discuss tactics for grassroots mobilization for campaigns and legislative advocacy. With four decades of experience in direct voter contact, Gerry has seen tremendous changes in the way campaigns mobilize voter. He is the president of the Tyson Organization in Fort Worth, Texas.

·  Vincent Harris will discuss the latest tactics and technology in online campaigning. He ran the online operations of three presidential campaigns – Huckabee, Perry and Gingrich – and the upset victory by Senator Ted Cruz. Campaigns & Elections Magazine recently named him the youngest “Rising Star” in Politics. He is the president of Harris Media LLC with offices in Austin, Texas and Orlando, Fla.

·  Daniel Martin will discuss the role of polling in developing messages for campaigns. His recent work includes Mississippi Initiative 26 – Life Begins at Conception – Obama for America and other campaigns across the nation. He is a native of Jackson, Miss. and pollster with Brilliant Corners in Washington, D.C.

·  Bob Mann will lead a panel of Louisiana reporters, bloggers and political communication professionals on how to get media coverage in the evolving media environment. He is a political blogger, former reporter and former communications director for Governor Blanco, Senator John Breaux and Senator Russell Long. He is currently the Manship Chair and professor at the Manship School of Mass Communication.

An integral part of LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs promotes greater understanding and cooperation between the academic world and practical politics. Its mission is to generate thoughtful programs, dialogue and research about mass communication and its many-faceted relationships with social, economic and political issues. The Reilly Center uses the intellectual muscle of the school’s faculty to help address practical problems and advance good-government initiatives.

Evident in everything the center does is its commitment to strengthen and advance the Manship School’s national leadership in media and politics. The center’s agenda is diverse and fluid – from the annual John Breaux Symposium, which hosts national experts to discuss a topic that has received little or no attention, to conducting the annual Louisiana Survey, a vital resource for policymakers that tracks advancements and regressions of citizen attitudes about state issues and services. Its action-oriented and partnership-driven philosophy underscores the Reilly Center’s dedication to tackling ideas and issues that explore the relationship of media and the public in democratic society.

For more information about the Manship School of Mass Communication and its programs, please contact Emily Wascom at (225) 578-7312 or

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