Media and democracy are cornerstones of Sanford’s work. Sanford’s mission is to improve lives and communities by researching the most pressing public policy issues and preparing students for lives of leadership, civic engagement and public service.

Through research, faculty are building knowledge about policy, democracy and journalism. In their teaching, faculty teach crucial skills for students who develop as leaders, public servants, journalists and engaged citizens.

Related Programs & Courses


The Public Policy Studies major is a perennial top major at Duke University.


Master of Public Policy (MPP)

graduate program

PhD in Public Policy


Our faculty have produced thousands of research findings that contribute to the knowledge base for evidence-driven policy. They have created new fact-checking standards for journalists, trained people how to run for political office, served in all levels of government including Congress and advised presidential candidates and the White House.

Core Faculty: Media & Democracy

Featured Research Centers

Man looking at the camera
Phil Napoli, Director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy

Center for Media & Democracy

DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy is Duke University’s hub for the study of journalism, including watchdog and accountability reporting and the media’s role in democracy. 

Woman smiling
Deondra Rose, Director of POLIS

POLIS: Center for Politics

POLIS is committed to increasing our understanding of politics - we aim to promote powerful politics research, to foster rich political discourse, and to help a new generation of leaders find on-ramps to public service.


Research Spotlight

Faculty member Philip Napoli and research associate Jessica Mahone found a wide array of hyperpartisan websites masquerading as local news outlets. 

Read the report

Student Spotlight

Tinae Bluitt was a staffer for Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer prior to coming to Duke. “Working on the Hill is one of the reasons that led me back to graduate school," she says. "I want to work to change polices that are currently not based on data ... I want to return to Washington more prepared to help change policies.”

Read Tinae's story

Faculty Spotlight

Bill Adair, Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy and founder of the Pulitzer Prize-winning website PolitiFact, is on a fact checking mission to stop the flow of misinformation online. With students and researchers in the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy, Adair has developed a fact checking toolbox that is in use.

More about Bill Adair

Alumni Spotlight

Emily Feng is a foreign correspondent. Working for the Financial Times, she uncovered key information surrounding the Chinese oppression of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, China. Her coverage won several awards. Feng now works as NPR’s Beijing correspondent.

Emily on the Policy 360 podcast

Featured Podcast

Why Young People Don't Vote, And How to Change That

Our podcasts regularly feature stories about media and democracy. In this episode of Ways and Means: research into the gap between young Americans’ intention to vote and the chances that they will actually do it. 

Media & Democracy Stories

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Faculty in the News

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Contact Us

Interested in pursuing a policy degree with a focus on media and democracy? Great! The admissions page for each program has detailed guidelines, including our contact info. Please reach out!