Peter S. Pritchard

NPF Award Winner: Peter S. Pritchard - Peter S. Pritchard

Peter S. Pritchard 2008

The Newseum

Peter S. Prichard is president of the Newseum, the world’s only interactive museum of news. Prichard is also the former top editor of USA TODAY, the nation’s largest-circulation newspaper. During his more than six years as editor-in-chief, from 1988-1994, USA TODAY passed the 2-million mark in circulation to become the nation’s largest daily, while winning many national journalism awards.

In more than 25 years as a journalist, Prichard was a sportswriter, a police and courts reporter, a television producer, a TV columnist, a feature writer, an opinion page editor and a political editor. He is also the author of The Making of McPaper: The Inside Story of USA TODAY, which sold 28,000 copies in hardcover and named one of the best journalism books of 1988.

In 1995, he joined The Freedom Forum to lead the team of news and museum professionals that built the Forum’s first Newseum and Freedom Park in Arlington, Va. From April 1997 until it closed in March 2002, the Newseum attracted more than 2.2 million visitors and won many awards for its design and content. The latest edition of the Newseum is scheduled to open its new, expanded facility on Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol and the White House in the first quarter of 2008. The $450-million project contains more than 70,000 square feet of exhibit space, with 14 galleries, 15 theaters and two television studios.

A 1966 graduate of Dartmouth College, Prichard served in Army intelligence in Vietnam in 1968-69, where he was awarded the Bronze Star. He began his journalism career in 1970 at the Greenwich (Ct.) Time, and later worked at the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle, The Times-Union, and WOKR-TV in Rochester. In 1978 he joined the Gannett corporate staff as an assistant to Al Neuharth, founder of USA TODAY, The Freedom Forum and the Newseum.

When USA TODAY was launched in 1982, Prichard was named columns editor of the opinion pages. He rose through the ranks to become the third editor of the newspaper, succeeding John C. Quinn; he served in that role for more than six years, longer than any other editor. In 1990, he added the additional title of chief news executive of Gannett.

Prichard is a board member and former chair of the National Press Foundation, which offers continuing education to journalists. He is a past chair of the Freedom of Information and Program Committees of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. He is a past chair of Jesuit Volunteers International, and is a current trustee and deputy chair of Guest Services, Inc., a food service and hospitality company. He has also served as president of the Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association in Washington, D.C., and on the advisory boards of So Others Might Eat and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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