The Relationship of winning a Pulitzer Prize to newspaper circulation

Ronald E. McIntosh, Pittsburg State University

vii, 80 leaves ; 28 cm. Bibliography: leaves 33-35


The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between newspaper quality and newspaper success. Winning a Pulitzer Prize was the operational definition of quality, while success was operationalized as increased circulation. Twenty-two newspapers, all morning or all-day dailies, were studied in this project. Eleven of the papers which won Pulitzer Prizes in the period of 1979 to 1989 were compared to 11 similar newspapers which did not win Pulitzers. The winning papers over the 11-year period outdistanced the non-winning papers in circulation population ratio by 1.58 percent per year. A relationship was found in a variety of ways, including using a ratio of population increases to circulation increases and comparing average ratios over an 11-year period to ratios in the years when Pulitzer material appeared in the newspaper and in the years when the announcement of the award was made. Data show that the ratio was highest in announcement years, indicating there is a relationship between winning and Pulitzer Prize and increased circulation.