Study: Female journalists need top-notch qualifications to win a Pulitzer

University of Missouri journalism professor Yong Volz and Chinese University journalism professor Francis Lee examined biographies of all 814 Pulitzer winners from 1917 to 2010 and found that “the majority of the 113 female Pulitzer Prize winners enjoyed access to greater resources than the average male winner.”

Beyond talent and hard work, majoring in journalism, earning a graduate degree from a prestigious institution such as an Ivy League university, a metropolitan upbringing, and employment with an elite publication such as the New York Times were among the things females needed to achieve this highest professional recognition. Male winners have not necessarily had to possess such high qualifications in order to win.

The professors found that only 27% of Pulitzer winners since 1991 were females, while newsrooms are about 33% female.

“Volz saw an increase of female winners after the 1950s through the 1980s,” says Missouri’s release on the study, “but those winners were more likely to have higher credentials compared to their male counterparts in order to compensate for gender disadvantage. For women who did not possess additional qualifications, however, they had a better chance to win a Pulitzer only when working in teams and/or working on local reporting and in-depth reporting.”

Any thoughts from Pulitzer winners …. and readers still hoping to grab the big prize?

* Female Pulitzer Prize winners require higher qualifications (missouri.edu)
* Earlier: Volz and Lee examine international reporting Pulitzer winners (sagepub.com)
* April 16, 2012: Newsroom smiles on Pulitzer day (jimromenesko.com)

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