The panelists talk about the past and future of USA Today, which recently marked its 30th anniversary.
Panelist Lisa Kernek points out the paper was widely scorned by journalists – but it was also widely imitated. USA Today influenced the industry by making papers more appealing visually and more reader-friendly.
Panelist Mike Murray said it was designed to appeal to the generations raised on television – its color photos and short stories made it a sort of newspaper version of a TV newscast.
However, USA Today was rarely if ever profitable. It was supported by Gannett’s other newspapers. None of the Shop Talk panelists know of anyone who ever received home delivery of USA Today. The paper is likely read most frequently at hotels by travelers.
USA Today provides broad national stories and information, which could prove to be its downfall. Travelers can now get the information they want from other sources via tablets and smart phones. In addition, many observers feel the future of news is in hyperlocal coverage rather than the style of news coverage done by USA Today.