|Founded||September 15, 1982|
|Headquarters||7950 Jones Branch Drive,
McLean, Virginia, 22108
Geneva, Switzerland (international edition)
|Circulation||958,784 (daily print)
2,477,194 (daily print and digital) (as of March 31, 2015)
|Sister newspapers||USA Today Sports Weekly|
USA Today is an internationally distributed American daily middle-market newspaper that serves as the flagship publication of its owner, the Gannett Company. Founded by Al Neuharth on September 15, 1982, it operates from Gannett's corporate headquarters on Jones Branch Drive in McLean, Virginia, United States. It is printed at 37 sites across the United States and at five additional sites internationally. Its dynamic design influenced the style of local, regional and national newspapers worldwide, through its use of concise reports, colorized images, informational graphics, and its inclusion of popular culture stories, among other distinct features.
With a weekly circulation of 1,021,638 and an approximate daily reach of seven million readers as of 2016, USA Today shares the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States with The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. USA Today is distributed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, with an international edition distributed in Canada, Asia and the Pacific Islands, and Europe.
- 1 History
- 2 Layout and format
- 3 Personnel
- 4 Related publications and services
- 5 Awards
- 6 In popular culture
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 External links
The development of USA Today commenced on February 29, 1980, when company staff employed for a task force known as "Project NN" met with Gannett Company chairman Al Neuharth in Cocoa Beach, Florida to develop a national newspaper. Early, regional prototypes included East Bay Today, an Oakland, California-based publication first published in the late 1970s to serve as the morning edition of the Oakland Tribune, an afternoon newspaper which Gannett owned at the time. On June 11, 1981, Gannett printed the first prototypes of the proposed publication; the copies, which displayed two proposed design layouts, were mailed to various newsmakers and prominent leaders in journalism for review and input. The Gannett Company's Board of Directors approved the launch of the national newspaper, which would be titled USA Today, on December 5, 1981; with the launch, Neuharth was appointed president and publisher of the newspaper, adding those responsibilities to his existing position as Gannett's chief executive officer.
Gannett formally announced the launch of the paper on April 20, 1982. USA Today began publishing on September 15, 1982, initially launching in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas for an initial newsstand price of 25¢ (equivalent to 62¢ today). After selling out its first issue, Gannett gradually expanded the national distribution of the paper, eventually reaching an estimated circulation of 362,879 copies, double the amount of copy sales that Gannett projected that USA Today would accrue by the end of 1982. The design was unique in its incorporation of colorized graphics and photographs; initially, only its front news section pages were rendered in four-color, while the remaining pages were displayed in a spot color format. The paper's overall content style and elevated use of graphics – the result of the concept developed by Neuharth, in contribution with staff graphics designers George Rorick, Sam Ward, Suzy Parker, John Sherlock and Web Bryant – was derided by critics, who referred to it as "McPaper" or "television you can wrap fish in," because it opted to incorporate more concise, shorter-form nuggets of information akin to the style of television news rather than in-depth stories in many of its sections like traditional newspapers, which many in the newspaper industry considered to be a dumbing down of the news.
On July 2, 1984, the newspaper switched from a largely black-and-white to a color publication, featuring full color photography and graphics in all four sections. The following week on July 10, USA Today launched an international edition intended primarily for U.S. readers abroad; this was followed four months later on October 8 with the rollout of the first via satellite publication of its international version in Singapore. On April 8, 1985, the paper published its first special bonus section, a 12-page section called "Baseball '85," which previewed the 1985 Major League Baseball season.
By the fourth quarter of 1985, USA Today had become the second largest newspaper in the United States, reaching a daily circulation of 1.4 million copies; total daily readership of the paper by 1987 (according to Simmons Market Research Bureau statistics) had reached 5.5 million, the largest of any daily newspaper in the U.S. On May 6, 1986, USA Today began printing production of its international edition in Switzerland. USA Today operated at a loss for most of its first four years of operation, accumulating a total deficit of $233 million after taxes, according to figures released by Gannett in July 1987; the newspaper began turning its first profit in May 1987, six months ahead of Gannett corporate revenue projections.
On January 29, 1988, USA Today published the largest edition in its history, a 78-page weekend edition featuring a section previewing Super Bowl XXII; the edition included 44.38 pages of advertising and sold 2,114,055 copies, setting a single-day circulation record for an American newspaper (a record that the paper would beat nearly nine months later on September 2, when its Labor Day weekend edition sold 2,257,734 copies). On April 15, USA Today launched a third international printing site, based in Hong Kong. The international edition set circulation and advertising sales records during August 1988, when the publication provided extensive coverage of that year's Summer Olympics, selling more than 60,000 copies and 100 pages of advertising.
By July 1991, Simmons Market Research Bureau estimated that USA Today had a total daily readership of nearly 6.6 million readers, an all-time high for the paper at the time and the largest readership of any daily newspaper in the United States. On September 1 of that year, USA Today launched a fourth printsite for its international edition in London to publish and distribute that version of the paper to the United Kingdom and the British Isles. The international edition's format was changed beginning with the April 1, 1994 issue to release each issue on Monday through Fridays, rather than from Tuesday through Saturday, in order to accommodate business travelers; on February 1, 1995, USA Today opened its first editorial bureau outside of the United States at its Hong Kong publishing facility; additional editorial bureaus were launched in London and Moscow in 1996.
On April 17, 1995, USA Today launched its website, www.usatoday.com, as part of the USA Today Information Network to provide real-time news coverage; the site would eventually expand to include a spin-off website that launched in June 2002, USATODAY.com Travel, providing travel information and booking tools. On August 28, 1995, a fifth international publishing site was launched in Frankfurt, Germany, to print and distribute the international edition throughout most of Europe. On October 4, 1999, USA Today began running advertisements on its front page for the first time.
On February 8, 2000, Gannett launched USA Today Live, a broadcast and Internet initiative designed to provide coverage from the newspaper to broadcast television stations nationwide for use in their local newscasts and their websites; the venture would also provide integration with the USA Today website, which transitioned from a text-based format to feature audio and video clips of news content. The paper launched a sixth printing site for its international edition on May 15, 2000, in Milan, Italy, followed on July 10 by the launch of an international printing facility in Charleroi, Belgium.
2001 saw additional expansion of the newspaper, with the launch of two interactive units: on June 19, USA Today and Gannett Newspapers launched the USA Today Careers Network (now Careers.com), a website featuring localized employment listings, then on July 18, the USA Today News Center was launched as an interactive television news service developed through a joint venture with the On Command Corporation that was distributed to hotels around the United States. On September 12 of that year, the newspaper set an all-time single day circulation record, selling 3,638,600 copies for its edition covering the terrorist attacks that damaged the World Trade Center and The Pentagon and a hijacking attempt tied to the two events that resulted in the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. That November, USA Today migrated its operations from Gannett's previous corporate headquarters in Arlington, Virginia to the company's new headquarters in nearby McLean.
On December 12, 2005, Gannett announced that it would combine the separate newsroom operations of USA Today's online and print entities, with USAToday.com's vice president and editor-in-chief Kinsey Wilson being promoted to co-executive editor, alongside existing executive editor John Hillkirk. In 2010, USA Today launched the USA Today API for sharing data with partners of all types.
Newsroom restructuring and 2011 graphical tweaks
On August 27, 2010, USA Today announced that it would undergo a reorganization of its newsroom, announcing the layoffs of 130 staffers. It also announced that the paper would shift its focus away from print and place more emphasis on its digital platforms (including USAToday.com and its related mobile applications) and launch of a new publication called USA Today Sports.
On January 24, 2011, to reverse a revenue slide, the paper introduced a tweaked format that modified the appearance of its front section pages, which included a larger logo at the top of each page; coloring tweaks to section front pages; a new sans-serif font, called Prelo, for certain headlines of main stories (replacing the Gulliver typeface that had been implemented for story headers in April 2000); an updated "Newsline" feature featuring larger, "newsier" headline entry points; and the increasing and decreasing of mastheads and white space to present a cleaner style.
On September 14, 2012, USA Today underwent the first major redesign in its history, in commemoration for the 30th anniversary of the paper's first edition. Developed in conjunction with brand design firm Wolff Olins, the print edition of USA Today added a page covering technology stories and expanded travel coverage within the Life section and increased the number of color pages included in each edition, 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 website was also extensively overhauled using a new, in-house content management system known as Presto and a design created by Fantasy Interactive, that incorporates flipboard-style navigation to switch between individual stories (which obscure most of the main and section pages), clickable video advertising and a responsive design layout. The site was designed to be more interactive, provide optimizations for mobile and touchscreen devices, provide "high impact" advertising units, and provide the ability for Gannett to syndicate USA Today content to the websites of its local properties, and vice versa. To accomplish this goal, Gannett migrated its newspaper and television station websites to the Presto platform and the USA Today site design throughout 2013 and 2014 (although archive content accessible through search engines remains available through the pre-relaunch design).
Mid-2010s expansion and restructuring
On October 6, 2013, Gannett test launched a daily "butterfly" edition of USA Today for distribution as an insert in four of its newspapers – The Indianapolis Star, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, the Fort Myers-based News-Press and the Appleton, Wisconsin-based Post-Crescent. The launch of the syndicated insert caused USA Today to restructure its operations to allow seven-day-a-week production to accommodate the packaging of its national and international news content and enterprise stories (comprising about 10 pages for the weekday and Saturday editions, and up to 22 pages for the Sunday edition) into the pilot insert. Gannett later announced on December 11, that it would formally launch the condensed daily edition of USA Today in 31 additional local newspapers nationwide through April 2014 (with the Palm Springs, California-based Desert Sun and the Lafayette, Louisiana-based Advertiser being the first newspapers outside of the pilot program participants to add the supplement on December 15), citing "positive feedback" to the feature from readers and advertisers of the initial four papers. Gannett was given permission from the Alliance for Audited Media to count the circulation figures from the syndicated local insert with the total circulation count for the flagship national edition of USA Today.
On January 4, 2014, USA Today acquired the book and film review website, Reviewed.com. In the first quarter of 2014, Gannett launched a condensed USA Today insert into 31 other newspapers in its network, thereby increasing the number of inserts to 35, in an effort to shore up USA Today's circulation after it regained its position as the highest circulated weekdaily newspaper in the United States in October 2013. On September 3, 2014, USA Today announced that it would lay off roughly 70 employees in a restructuring of its newsroom and business operations. In October 2014, USA Today and OpenWager Inc. entered into a partnership to release a Bingo app called USA TODAY Bingo Cruise.
On December 3, 2015, Gannett formally launched the USA Today Network, a national digital newsgathering service providing shared content between USA Today and the company's 92 local newspapers throughout the United States as well as pooling advertising services on both a hyperlocal and national reach. The Louisville Courier-Journal had earlier soft-launched the service as part of a pilot program started on November 17, coinciding with an imaging rebrand for the Louisville, Kentucky-based newspaper; Gannett's other local newspaper properties, as well as those it acquired through its merger with the Journal Media Group, began identifying themselves as part of the USA Today Network (foregoing use of the Gannett name outside of requisite ownership references) gradually integrated into the USA Today Network through early January 2016.
Layout and format
USA Today is known for synthesizing news down to easy-to-read-and-comprehend stories. In the main edition circulated in the United States and some Canadian cities, each edition consists of four sections: News (the oft-labeled "front page" section), Money, Sports, and Life. Since March 1998, the Friday edition of Life has been separated into two distinct sections: the regular Life focusing on entertainment (subtitled Weekend; section E), which features television reviews and listings, 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.
Atypical of most daily newspapers, the paper does not print on Saturdays and Sundays; the Friday edition serves as the weekend edition (although USA Today has published special Saturday and Sunday editions in the past, the first being published on January 19, 1991, when it released a Saturday "Extra" edition updating coverage of the Gulf War from the previous day; the paper published special seven-day-a-week editions for the first time on July 19, 1996, when it published special editions for exclusive distribution in the host city of Atlanta and surrounding areas for the two-week duration of the Summer Olympics). 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; the principal section colors are blue for News (section A), green for Money (section B), red for Sports (section C), and purple for Life (section D); in the paper's early years, the Life and Money sections were also assigned blue nameplates and spot color, as the presses used at USA Today' printing facilities did not yet accommodate the use of other colors to denote all four original sections. 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 red designated for sports in their bonus sections. To increase their ties to USA Today, Gannett incorporated the USA Today coloring scheme into an internally created graphics package for news programming that the company began phasing in across its television station group – which were spun-off in July 2015 into the separate broadcast and digital media company Tegna – in late 2012 (the package utilizes the color scheme for a rundown graphic used on most stations – outside of those that Gannett acquired in 2014 from London Broadcasting, which began implementing the package in late 2015 – that persists throughout its stations' newscasts, as well as bumpers for individual story topics). Gannett's television stations began to a new on-air appearance that uses a color-coding system identical to that of the paper.
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 (front-page paragraphs referring to stories on inside pages), sometimes using sentence-length blurbs to describe stories inside; the lead reefer is the cover page feature "Newsline," which shows summarized descriptions of headline stories featured in all four main sections and any special sections. As 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 for the continental United States, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, and temperature lists for many cities throughout the U.S. and the world (temperatures for individual cities on the primary forecast map and temperature lists are suffixed with a one- or two-letter code, such as "t" for thunderstorms, referencing the expected weather conditions); the colorized forecast map, originally created by staff designer George Rorick (who left USA Today for a similar position at The Detroit News in 1986), was copied by newspapers around the world, breaking from the traditional style of using monochrome contouring or simplistic text to denote temperature ranges. National precipitation maps for the next three days (previously five days until the 2012 redesign), and four-day forecasts and Air Quality Indexes for 36 major U.S. cities (originally 16 cities prior to 1999) – with individual cities color-coded by the temperature contour corresponding to the given area on the forecast map – are also featured. Weather data is provided by AccuWeather, which has served as the forecast provider for USA Today for most of the paper's existence (with an exception from January 2002 to September 2012, when The Weather Channel provided data through a long-term multimedia content agreement with Gannett). In the bottom left-hand corner of the weather page is "Weather Focus", a graphic which explains various 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 for "Market Trends," a feature that launched in June 2002 and presents an unusual graphic depicting the performance of various industry groups as a function of quarterly, monthly, and weekly movements against the S&P 500. 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. 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. Stock tables for individual stock exchanges (comprising one subsection for companies traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and another for companies trading on NASDAQ and the American Stock Exchange) and mutual indexes were discontinued with the 2012 redesign due to the myriad of electronic ways to check individual stock prices, in line with most newspapers.
Book coverage, including reviews and a national sales chart (the latter of which debuted on October 28, 1994), 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. Because of the same limitations cited for its nationalized forecasts, the television page in Life – which provides prime time and late night listings (running from 8:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Eastern Time) – incorporates a boilerplate "Local news" or "Local programming" descriptions to denote time periods in which the five major English language broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and The CW) cede airtime to allow their affiliates to carry syndicated programs or local newscasts; the television page has never been accompanied by a weekly listings supplement with broader scheduling information similar to those featured in local newspapers. Like most national papers, USA Today does not carry comic strips.
One of the staples of the News section is "Across the USA," 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. Similarly, the "For the Record" page of the Sports section (which features sports scores for both the previous four days of league play and individual non-league events, seasonal league statistics and wagering lines for the current day's games) also features a rundown of winning numbers from the previous deadline date for all participating state lotteries and individual multi-state lotteries.
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 neo-Victorian.
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 credited source mentioned in fine print in the box below the graph).
The newspaper also features an occasional magazine supplement called Open Air, which launched on March 7, 2008 and appears 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 Editorial 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. The opinion pieces featured in each edition are decided by the Board of Contributors, which are separate from the paper's news staff.
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."
USA Today has traditionally maintained a policy not to endorse candidates for the United States Presidency or any other state or federal political office, which it has refrained from doing since its inception. Since 1984, its political editorials during the Presidential election cycle has focused instead on providing opinion on major issues relevant to the campaign based on the differing concerns of voters, the vast amount of information on ongoing Presidential campaigns, and the Board of Contributors' aim to provide a fair viewpoint through the diverse political ideologies of its members and avoid reader perceptions of bias. However, the board re-evaluates its non-endorsement policy through an independent process during each four-year election cycle, with any decision to circumvent the policy based on a consensus vote in which fewer than two of the editorial board's members dissent or hold differing opinions.
The editorial board broke from this stance for the first time on September 29, 2016, when it published an op-ed piece condemning the candidacy of Republican nominee Donald Trump, calling him "unfit for the presidency" due to his inflammatory campaign rhetoric (particularly that aimed at military veterans, immigrants, and various ethnic and religious groups); his temperament and lack of financial transparency; his "checkered" business record; his use of false and hyperbolic statements; the inconsistency of his viewpoints and issues with his vision on domestic and foreign policy; and, based on comments he has made during his campaign and criticisms by both Democrats and Republicans on these views, the potential risks to national security and constitutional ethics under a Trump administration, asking voters to "resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue". The board noted that the piece was not a "qualified endorsement" of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, for whom the board was unable to reach a consensus for endorsing (some editorial board members expressed that Clinton's public service record would help her "serve the nation ably as its president," while others had "serious reservations about [her] sense of entitlement, [...] lack of candor and [...] extreme carelessness in handling classified information"), instead advising voters to decide whether to vote for Clinton, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, Green Party nominee Jill Stein or a write-in candidate; or focus on Senate, House and other down-ballot political races.
In May 2012, Larry Kramer – a 40-year media industry veteran and former president of CBS Digital Media – was appointed president and publisher of USA Today, replacing David Hunke, who had been publisher of the newspaper since 2009. Kramer was tasked with developing a new strategy for the paper as it sought to increase revenue from its digital operations.
In July 2012, Kramer hired David Callaway – whom the former had hired as lead editor of MarketWatch in 1999, two years after Kramer founded the website during his tenure at CBS News – as the paper's editor-in-chief. 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". Conservative activist Peter Gemma has written more than 100 op-ed pieces for USA Today.
- Bill Sternberg
- David Mastio – said libertarian pundit John Stossel had a conflict of interest
- Jill Lawrence – see Politics Daily
- Dan Carney
- Thuan Le Elston
- Josh Rivera
- Eileen Rivers
- Saundra Torry – active in the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press since 2000
Related publications and services
USA Weekend is a defunct sister publication that launched in 1953 as Family Weekly, a national weekend newsmagazine supplement intended for the Sunday editions of various U.S. newspapers; it adopted its final title following Gannett's purchase of the magazine in 1985. The magazine – which was distributed to approximately 800 newspapers nationwide at its peak with most Gannett-owned local newspapers carrying it by default within their Sunday editions – focused primarily on social issues, entertainment, health, food and travel. On December 5, 2014, Gannett announced that it would cease publishing USA Weekend after the December 26–28 edition, citing increasing operational costs and reduced advertising revenue, with most of its participating newspapers choosing to replace it with competing Sunday magazine Parade.
USA Today Sports Weekly
USA Today Sports Weekly is a weekly magazine that covers news and statistics from Major League Baseball, minor league and NCAA baseball, the National Football League (NFL) and NASCAR. It was first published on April 5, 1991 as USA Today Baseball Weekly, a tabloid-sized baseball-focused publication released on Wednesdays, on a weekly basis during the baseball season and bi-weekly during the off-season; the magazine expanded its sports coverage on September 4, 2002, when it adopted its current title after added stories about the NFL. Sports Weekly added coverage of NASCAR on February 15, 2006, lasting only during that year's race season; and added coverage of NCAA college football on August 8, 2007. The editorial operations of Sports Weekly originally operated autonomously from USA Today, before being integrated with the newspaper's sports department in late 2005.
The Big Lead
The Big Lead is a sports blog operated by USA Today that was launched in February 2006 by original owner Fantasy Sports Ventures (co-founded by Jason McIntyre and David Lessa), which was purchased by the Gannett Company – which, beginning in April 2008, had maintained a strategic content and marketing partnership with the former company – in January 2012. The site – which is usually updated on a routine basis of 10 to 15 times per day between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time – mainly covers sports, but also provides news and commentary on other news topics, ranging from politics to pop culture.
USA Today: The Television Show
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 USA Today: The Television Show (later retitled USA Today on TV, then shortened to simply USA Today), which premiered on September 12, 1988. Correspondents on the program 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 (focusing on the major headlines of the day), Money (focusing on financial news and consumer reports), Sports (focusing on sports news and scores) and Life (focusing on entertainment and lifestyle-related stories).
The series was plagued by low ratings and negative reviews from critics throughout its run. The program also suffered from being scheduled in undesirable timeslots in certain markets; this was a particular case in New York City, the country's largest media market, where CBS owned-and-operated station WCBS-TV (channel 2) aired the program in a pre-dawn early morning slot, before the program moved to NBC O&O WNBC five months into its run in a 9:30 a.m. slot, where it did not fare any better despite being placed in a more palatable time period (in contrast, CITY-TV in Toronto, Ontario, Canada [now the flagship station of the City television network], ran it at 5:00 p.m.).) 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.
Gannett announced plans to develop a USA Today-branded weekly half-hour television program, to have been titled "Sports Page", as part of a renewed initiative to extend the brand into television; this program, which was tapped for a fall 2004 debut, ultimately never launched.
VRtually There is a weekly virtual reality news program produced by the USA Today Network, which debuted on October 20, 2016. The program, which is available on the USA Today mobile app and on YouTube (which maintains content exclusivity through the program's dedicated channel for 60 days after each broadcast), showcases three original segments outlining news stories through a first-person perspective, recorded and produced by journalists from USA Today and its co-owned local newspapers. The program also incorporates "cubemercials," long-form advertisements created by Gannett's in-house creative studio GET Creative, which are designed to allow consumer engagenent in fully immersive experiences through virtual reality.
- USA Today Minor League Player of the Year Award – First presented in 1988, this annual award has been given to a particular Minor League Baseball player judged to have had the most outstanding season by a thirteen-person panel of baseball experts.
- USA Today All-USA high school baseball team – First presented in 1998, the award honors between nine and eleven outstanding baseball players from high schools around the United States to be part on the team (separate awards honoring the High School Baseball Player of the Year and High School Baseball Coach of the Year have been given since 1989).
- USA Today All-USA high school basketball team – First presented in 1983, the award honors outstanding male and female basketball players from high schools around the United States with a place on the team, with one member of each team being named as the High School Basketball Player of the Year as well as coaches from a select boys' and girls' team as the High School Basketball Coach of the Year.
- USA Today All-Joe Team (NFL) – First presented in 1992 in tribute to Kansas City Chiefs veteran defensive lineman Joe Phillips, the award honors 52 rookie players from throughout the NFL for their exemplary performance during the previous league season.
- USA Today/National Prep Poll High School Football National Championship – Predating the first publication of USA Today under the sole decision of the National Prep Poll, it is a national championship honor awarded to the best high school football team(s) in the United States based on rankings decided by USA Today's sports editorial department.
- USA Today All-USA high school football team – First presented in 1982, the award honors outstanding football players from high schools around the United States (includes ranks for the Super 25 teams in the U.S. and Top 10 teams in the East, South, Midwest and West, and USA Today High School Football Player of the Year).
- USA Today High School Football Coach of the Year – First presented in 1982, the award awards a coach from one of the teams selected for the All-USA football team for the honor.
In popular culture
A futuristic 2015 edition of USA Today (Hill Valley edition) is seen in Back to the Future Part II (1989). As a tribute to the movie, the newspaper ran a recreation of the front page, featuring the exact headlines portrayed in the movie, on October 22, 2015, the exact date of the edition that the protagonist Marty McFly read in the movie (the character, played by Michael J. Fox, travels to October 21, 2015, and reads the following day's edition of the paper.
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- Mario R. García (September 10, 2012). "USA TODAY turns 30-Part 2—-A newspaper that influenced all of us". García Media.
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The mélange of styles and practices in printed and now web-based newspapers, although postmodern in terms of scholarly and design thinking, might more meaningfully be understood as neo-Victorian. The new styles, embodied most famously in USA Today and its clones, mark a return to the mystifying abundance of facts and stories that newspapers of the industrial revolution made visually present to readers.
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- Nate Davis (January 26, 2011). "All-Joe Team: The unheralded prime performers from NFL '10". USA Today. Gannett Company.
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- Lindsay Deutsch (October 22, 2015). "Fans race to get 'Back to the Future' paper". USA Today. Gannett Company.