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|Owner(s)||Gannett Company, Inc.|
|Editor||Larry Kramer, Publisher
David Callaway, editor-in-chief
Brian Gallagher, Editorial page editor
|Founded||September 15, 1982|
|Headquarters||7950 Jones Branch Drive
Tysons Corner, Virginia, 22108 and Geneva, Switzerland
|Sister newspapers||USA Weekend
USA Today Sports Weekly
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth on September 15, 1982. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it had previously held since 2003. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the paper has 1.8 million copies as of March 2012 compared with The Wall Street Journal's 2.1 million though this figure includes the WSJ's 400,000 paid-for, online subscribers. USA Today remains the widest circulated print newspaper in the United States. USA Today is distributed in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Canada and the United Kingdom. The newspaper has its headquarters in the Tysons Corner area of Fairfax County, Virginia. USA Today sells for US $2 in newsstands, although it is often found free at hotels and airports that distribute it to their customers.
On June 11, 1981 the first prototypes of what would become USA Today were printed. Early, regional prototypes included East Bay Today in Oakland, California, a late 1970's morning edition of the Oakland Tribune, owned by Gannett at the time.
On December 5, 1981, the Gannett Board of Directors approved the launch of the USA Today News Paper.
On September 15, 1982, USA Today first launched in the Baltimore/Washington area for the cost of 25 cents.
In the fourth quarter of 1985, USA Today became the second largest newspaper in the America, having reached a daily circulation of 1.4 million.
On May 6, 1986, USA Today started its first international edition via satellite in Switzerland.
On January 29, 1988, USA Today published the largest edition in its history with 78 pages, 44.38 pages of advertising, and its Super Bowl edition selling 2,114,055 copies.
In April 1994, USA Today began Monday-Friday International Print Edition, rather than Tuesday - Saturday, to accommodate business travelers.
In April 1995, USA Today launched its website called USA Today Online.
In October 1999, USA Today started running ads on its front page.
In 2010, USA Today launched the USA Today API for sharing data with partners of all types.
In the first quarter of 2014 Gannett plans to insert a condensed version of USA Today into 31 other newspapers in its network, taking the number of inserts to 35. The aim is to shore up its circulation after regaining its position as the top circulating weekday newspaper in the United States in October 2013.
USA Today is known for synthesizing news down to easy-to-read-and-comprehend stories. In the main edition seen in the US and some Canadian cities, each edition consists of four sections: News (the oft-labeled "front page" section), Money, Sports, and Life. On Fridays, two Life sections are included: the regular Life for entertainment (subtitled Weekend; section E), which features television, a DVD column, film reviews and trends, and a travel supplement called Destinations & Diversions (section D). The international edition of the paper features two sections: News and Money in one; with Sports and Life in the other.
The paper does not print on Saturdays and Sundays; the Friday edition serves as the weekend edition. USA Today prints each complete story on the front page of the respective section with the exception of the cover story. The cover story is a longer story that requires a jump (readers must turn to another page in the paper to complete the story, usually the next page of that section). On certain days, the news or sports section will take up two paper sections, and there will be a second cover story within the second section.
Each section is denoted by a certain color to differentiate sections beyond lettering and is seen in a box the top-left corner of the first page, with News being blue (section A), Money with green (section B), red for Sports (section C), and purple for Life (section D). Orange is used for bonus sections (section E or above), which are published occasionally such as for business travel trends and the Olympics; other bonus sections for sports (such as for the PGA Tour preview, NCAA Basketball Tournaments, Memorial Day auto races (Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600), NFL opening weekend and the Super Bowl) previously used the orange color, but now use the sports red in their bonus sections. On days featuring bonus sections or business holidays, the Money and Life sections are usually combined into one section, while combinations of the Friday Life editions into one section are common during quiet weeks. The stock tables were discontinued after the last redesign in 2012 due to the myriad electronic ways to check individual stock prices, in line with most newspapers. Gannett's television stations also now mainly use the USA Today coloring scheme in the company's newest graphics package, which was introduced in late 2012.
In many ways, USA Today is set up to break the typical newspaper layout. Some examples of that divergence from tradition include using the left-hand quarter of each section as reefers, sometimes using sentence-length blurbs to describe stories inside. It is also the only paper in the United States to utilize the Gulliver font, which is used for both headlines and stories. Being a national newspaper, USA Today cannot focus on the weather for any one city. Therefore, the entire back page of the News section is used for weather maps and temperature lists for the entire United States and many cities throughout the world, with data provided by Weather Channel meteorologists. In the bottom left-hand corner of the weather page is a graphic called "Weather Focus," which explains different meteorological phenomena. On some days, the Weather Focus could be a photo of a rare meteorological event. On Mondays, the Money section uses its back page to present an unusual graphic depicting the performance of various industry groups as a function of quarterly, monthly and weekly movements against the S&P 500. Like most national papers, USA Today does not carry comic strips.
Book coverage, including reviews and a national sales chart is seen on Thursdays in Life, with the official full A.C. Nielsen television ratings chart printed on Wednesdays or Thursdays, depending on release. The paper also publishes the Mediabase survey for several genres of music, based on radio airplay spins on Tuesdays, along with their own chart of the top ten singles in general on Wednesdays. Advertising coverage is seen in the Monday Money section, which often includes a review of a current television ad, and after Super Bowl Sunday, a review of the ads aired during the broadcast with the results of the Ad Track live survey.
One of the staples of the News section is a state-by-state roundup of headlines. The summaries consist of paragraph-length Associated Press reports highlighting one story of note in each state, the District of Columbia, and one U.S. territory.
Some traditions have been retained, however. The lead story still appears on the upper-right hand of the front page. Commentary and political cartoons occupy the last few pages of the News section. Stock and mutual fund data are presented in the Money section. But USA Today is sufficiently different in aesthetics to be recognized on sight, even in a mix of other newspapers, such as at a newsstand. The overall design and layout of USA Today has been described as both neo-Victorian and Impressionist.
Also, in most of the sections' front pages, on the lower left hand corner, are "USA Today Snapshots", which give statistics of various lifestyle interests according to the section it is in (for example, a snapshot in "Life" could show how many people tend to watch a certain genre of television show based upon the type of mood they are in at the time). These "Snapshots" are shown through graphs which are made up of various illustrations of objects that roughly pertain to the graphs subject matter (using the example above, the graph's bars could be made up of several TV sets, or ended by one). These are usually loosely based on research by a national institute (with the source in the box below the graph in fine print to show credit).
Starting in February 2008, the newspaper added a magazine supplement called Open Air, appearing several times a year. Various other advertorials appear throughout the year, mainly on Fridays.
The opinion section prints USA Today editorials, columns by guest writers and members of the Board of Contributors, letters to the editor, and editorial cartoons. One unique feature of the USA Today editorial page is the publication of opposing points of view; alongside the editorial board's piece on the day's topic runs an opposing view by a guest writer, often an expert in the field.
As of 2010, the Editorial Page Editor was Brian Gallagher, who has worked for the newspaper since its founding in 1982. Other members of the Editorial Board included deputy editorial page editor Bill Sternberg, executive Forum editor John Siniff, op-ed/Forum page editor Glen Nishimura, operations editor Thuan Le Elston, letters editor Michelle Poblete, web content editor Eileen Rivers, and editorial writers Dan Carney, George Hager, and Saundra Torry. The newspaper's website calls this group "demographically and ideologically diverse."
On August 27, 2010, USA Today announced that it would be reorganizing its newsroom. 130 people were to be laid off, a new publication called USA Today Sports would be created, and the paper would be shifting its focus away from print and more on digital platforms like USA Today.com and mobile phone applications (apps).
On January 24, 2011, to reverse a slide of revenue, the paper introduced a tweaked format, changing a few looks of the front pages of sections.
Some of the changes include:
On September 14, 2012, USA Today underwent the first major redesign in its history with brand design firm Wolff Olins, in commemoration for the 30th anniversary of the paper's first edition. The print edition of USA Today now features the additions of a page covering technology stories and an increased number of color pages, while retaining longtime elements. The "globe" logo used since the paper's inception was replaced with a new logo featuring a large circle rendered in colors corresponding to each of the sections, serving as an infographic that changes with news stories, containing images representing that day's top stories. The paper's completely revamped website designed by Fi includes live video coverage of news events, frequently-updated news headlines and the addition of interactive weather maps.
In May 2012, Larry Kramer was appointed president and publisher of the paper. The 40-year media industry veteran and former president of CBS Digital Media, is tasked with developing a new strategy for the paper as it seeks to increase revenue from its digital operations. In July 2012, Kramer hired David Callaway as the paper's editor-in-chief from MarketWatch. Kramer had founded MarketWatch at CBS in 1997 and hired Callaway as its top editor two years later. Callaway had previously worked at Bloomberg covering the banking, investment-banking and asset-management businesses throughout Europe and at the Boston Herald, where he co-wrote a daily financial column on "comings and goings in the Boston business district".
In 1987, Gannett and producer Grant Tinker began developing a newsmagazine series for first-run syndication that attempted to bring the breezy style of USA Today to television. The result was the USA Today: The Television Show (later retitled USA Today on TV, then shortened to simply USA Today), which debuted on September 12, 1988. Correspondents on the series included Edie Magnus, Robin Young, Boyd Matson, Kenneth Walker, Dale Harimoto, Ann Abernathy, Bill Macatee and Beth Ruyak. As with the newspaper itself, the show was divided into four "sections" corresponding to the different parts of the paper – News, Money, Sports and Life.
The series was plagued by low ratings and negative reviews from critics throughout its run; the program also suffered from airing in undesirable timeslots in certain markets, including in the country's largest media market, New York City, where WCBS-TV and WNBC (the latter of which acquired the series from WCBS five months into the program's run) both placed the program in pre-dawn early morning slots. (Canadian television station City TV, in contrast, ran it at 5 pm.) These setbacks led to the cancellation of the TV version of USA Today in November 1989 after one-and-a-half seasons; the final edition aired on January 7, 1990.
Parodies of USA Today have appeared in various films and TV shows over the years, such as: