Print Internal Audience Tabloids and Newsletters: University of Pittsburgh - Bronze Medal

Category 22A: Print Internal Audience Tabloids and Newsletters
University of Pittsburgh, Pitt Chronicle

Contact: Robert Hill, vice chancellor for public affairs, 400 Craig Hall, 200 S. Craig St., Pittsburgh, PA 15260, Phone: (412) 624-8891, e-mail:

The Pitt Chronicle is a weekly newspaper published by the Department of University News and Magazines within Pitt’s Office of Public Affairs. Prior to the establishment of the Chronicle in October 2000, the University of Pittsburgh campus was served only by the student-run Pitt News and the University Times, which functions as the voice of the faculty. At that time, the university administration had to rely on an occasional Chancellor’s Update—a memorandum printed on letterhead—to communicate its message to the campus community. The Pitt Chronicle was established to provide a recurring, low-cost method of presenting the views and pronouncements of the University of Pittsburgh administration and provide its readers with interesting, well-written articles about the university’s excellence in research, teaching, learning, and service.

The primary audiences are the faculty, staff, and administrators of Pitt’s five campuses; students and community members also pick up the Chronicle at on- and off-campus newsstands. A small secondary audience—comprising university trustees, Pitt alumni leaders, university friends and supporters, legislators, community and business leaders, and members of the news media—receives the Chronicle by first-class mail.

The average length of the newspaper is eight pages, with occasional special issues running 12 pages and two or three off-peak issues running four pages. Weekly production cost is $2,494; unit cost is $.15.

The Pitt Chronicle, which has a run of 16,000, is published approximately 36 times a year and provides its readers with a predictable source of information about the university. It is also posted weekly at It publishes a mix of official announcements, feature stories, and recurring elements (Frontiers of Science, Awards & More, Pitt in the News, and a weekly calendar) that help to make it the highly successful publication it has become. The layout of the paper is enhanced by the use of strong central graphics; a mix of photography, art, and other graphic elements; adequate use of white space; and strong, clean lines.

Only an editor and graphic designer were added to the six-member news staff to produce the paper. The news staff includes four news representatives who serve as staff writers; one of these reps also coauthors the weekly Pitt in the News column and takes digital photographs, as needed. Also contributing regularly to the Pitt Chronicle are the department’s assistant director and director and the division’s senior associate vice chancellor, as well as staff writers from a number of different University offices and departments. Utilizing these resources effectively allows the Pitt Chronicle to provide a year-round, low-cost publication that supports the mission of the university.

The goal of the Pitt Chronicle is to promote the university and its programs and activities while providing an unfiltered outlet for the views and announcements of Pitt’s administrators. Among its objectives are:

  1. Publishing articles and information that are interesting and reflect the excellence in research, teaching, learning, and service that takes place at the University of Pittsburgh;
  2. Reinforcing the university’s position as a leader among the nation’s major public research universities; and
  3. Supporting the university’s goal of building an enduring foundation of long-term support through its fundraising efforts.

The Pitt Chronicle works closely with Pitt administrators to deliver their messages to the university community. In April 2006, the Chronicle began publishing a series of articles highlighting Pitt’s undergraduate research opportunities, a priority of Pitt’s Office of the Provost, with whom the Chronicle staff is working to produce the series. The series wraps up in April 2007, at which time the articles will be compiled into a publication for use by the various departments and schools wanting to showcase Pitt’s undergraduate research activity. When the university announced the doubling of its capital campaign to $2 billion, Chronicle staff worked with Pitt’s Office of Institutional Advancement to deliver its message to the campus community (June 26, 2006). And when Pitt’s Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg wished to communicate with the Pitt community directly on the new Fiscal Year 2006-07 budget, he did so through the Pitt Chronicle (July 24, 2006). Chancellor Nordenberg also uses many Chronicle stories, photographs, and graphics for his power-point reports at board of trustees meetings and at national alumni presentations and fundraising events.

Clearly, the Pitt Chronicle has had a significant impact on how the university conducts its business. The success of the Pitt Chronicle is assessed through the frequency and variety of information submitted for publication, the requests for additional copies of the newspaper and, most importantly, the use of Pitt Chronicle articles in other formats. Web links to Chronicle articles abound, as individual schools and departments link to articles featuring their faculty and staff accomplishments. Pitt’s Alumni Association monthly electronic newsletter regularly links to Pitt Chronicle articles, extending the Chronicle’s message to Pitt’s tens of thousands of alumni association members. Also, the steady increase in the number and variety of requests for coverage (In addition to the routine requests for publicizing upcoming events and the submission of information for inclusion in the Awards & More section of the newspaper, we receive numerous requests for coverage from offices, departments, and centers to assist in the dissemination of information campus wide about new programs, practices, and policies. For example, when Pitt’s human resources office initiated a Fitness for Life Program, it used the Chronicle as the primary means of disseminating that information to the campus community).

Other more quantifiable assessments include the marked increase in the number of items in the weekly calendar, which now includes more than 70 submissions a week, up from six, when the Chronicle first was published. In addition, requests for glossy reprints of Pitt Chronicle articles for promotional use by the various schools and departments continue to increase. In 2006, more than 85,000 reprints from Chronicle articles were reproduced. And, for the first time in 2006, Pitt’s Office of Admissions had eight Chronicle articles reproduced on posters, to be used in its recruitment efforts.