USA Today

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<tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align: center;"> Image:USAToday.jpg
The December 30, 2003 front page of
USA Today</td></tr> <tr><th>Editor</th><td>Ken Paulson, Editor
John Hillkirk, Executive Editor
Kinsey Wilson, Executive Editor</td></tr>
Image:USA Today Logo.JPG
TypeDaily newspaper
FormatBroadsheet

OwnerGannett Corporation
FoundedSeptember 15, 1982
Headquarters7950 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, VA 22108
United States

Website: usatoday.com

USA Today is a national American newspaper published by the Gannett Corporation. It was founded by Allen 'Al' Neuharth. The paper has the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States (averaging over 2.25 million copies every weekday), and among English-language broadsheets, it comes second world-wide, behind the 2.7 million daily paid copies of The Times of India. Its circulation figures are a matter of some dispute, however, as USA Today has many contracts ensuring distribution in hotels, often to customers unaware they are paying for the newspaper. USA Today is distributed in all 50 states.

Colorful and bold, with many large diagrams, charts, and photographs, USA Today was founded in 1982 with the goal of providing an alternative to the relatively colorless, wordy, gray papers of the time such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. USA Today is also well-known for its national polls on public sentiment.

Early on, the newspaper strived to set itself apart in distribution methods as well. The paper is still sold in unique newspaper vending machines with curved edges that some say resemble television sets more than newspaper racks. USA Today was also eager to latch onto the business traveler and was heavily distributed through airlines, airports, and hotels in addition to other sales outlets. The newspaper was also among the first newspapers to use satellite transmissions to send the final edition of the newspaper to multiple locations across the country for printing and final distribution in those regional markets. The innovation of using satellites and regional printing hubs allowed the paper to push back deadlines and include the most recent news and sports scores in each edition.

In 2001, the newspaper moved into its new 30 acre (120,000 m²) headquarters in McLean (Fairfax County, Virginia, a Washington, D.C. suburb). Its original headquarters are not far away; the old USA Today and Gannett, Inc. "silver towers", a major landmark on the Washington skyline, are in the neighborhood of Rosslyn, Arlington County, Virginia.

On September 7, 2004, the newsstand price of a USA Today newspaper was increased from 50 cents (the paper's price since 1985) to 75 cents.

Contents

[edit] Layout and Format

USA Today is known for synthesizing news down to easy-to-read-and-comprehend stories. 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 movies, TV and trends, and a travel supplement called "Life: Destinations and Diversions." USA Today does not print on Saturdays and Sundays.

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[1]. Being a national newspaper, USA Today can't afford to 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. In the bottom left-hand corner of the weather page is a graphic called "Weather Focus," which explains different meteorological phenomena. 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.

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.

Some traditions have been retained, however. The lede 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.

[edit] Journalistic Incidents

  • In March 2004, the newspaper was hit by a major scandal when it was revealed that Jack Kelley, a long-time USA Today correspondent and nominee for the Pulitzer Prize, had been fabricating stories. The newspaper did an extensive review of Kelley's stories, including sending investigators to Cuba, Israel and Jordan, and sifting through stacks of hotel records to determine if Kelley was in the locations he claimed to be filing stories from. Kelley resigned, but denied the charges. The USA Today publisher, Craig Moon, issued a public apology on the front page of the newspaper. Many remarked on the similarity of this scandal to that of the Jayson Blair situation at the New York Times, although it received less national attention. See also: Journalistic fraud


[edit] Parodies

A few parodies of USA Today have appeared in various movies and tv shows over the years, such as:

  • the futuristic 2015 look of a USA Today (Hill Valley edition) seen in Back to the Future Part II (1989)
  • a spinoff red planet version entitled Mars Today seen in Total Recall (1990)
  • an animated, dynamically updating e-paper version seen in Minority Report (2002)
  • a paper called BSA Today in an alternate reality where North America is still governed by the United Kingdom as the British States of America, seen in Sliders (1995)
  • Universe Today appeared in Babylon 5
  • in Ghostbusters (1984), during a montage, a mock USA Today pictured the eponymous Ghostbusters.
  • an extended sequence of Doonesbury strips in the 1980s
  • in the Simpsons, Homer reads a newspaper called "US of A Today" with the cover story: "America's Favorite Pencil - #2 is #1." Homer reads aloud another headline: "SAT scores are declining at a slower rate." After Lisa criticizes it, Homer says "this is the only newspaper in the country that is not afraid to tell the truth; everything is just fine."
  • The comedy publication The Onion publishes a feature on its front page called "Statshot." It is believed this directly pokes fun at similar statistics published on the front page of USA Today.

[edit] External links


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USA Today

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