Newspapers and Political Awareness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The theory of print superiority is examined as it relates to the role of local newspapers in facilitating information acquisition about U.S. elections. The appearance of print superiority reflects variance in the characteristics of different news mediums' audiences rather than a unique capability of local newspapers to convey information. Capitalizing on Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's eight-month newspaper strike in 1992, survey data from the Pittsburgh and Cleveland areas are compared via a quasi-experimental method. Exposure to a major local newspaper does not enhance knowledge of national or international politics, but contributes to self-perceived knowledge regarding local political campaigns. Characteristics of respondents, including education and prior political knowledge, are the strongest predictors of information acquisition concerning national and international events.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-527
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • newspapers
  • print media
  • political campaigns
  • political awareness
  • United States Senate
  • legislatures
  • knowledge level
  • broadcast media
  • political candidates
  • presidential elections


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