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USA Today is America’s largest newspaper by circulation, with 3.2 million print and digital copies as of 2014, many of those distributed via inserts in Gannett’s other newspapers and others distributed free to hotel guests. Its total print circulation was 1.1 million in 2013, and its individual paid circulation was just more than 600,000 in 2012.
USA Today faced significant circulation declines in 2009 and 2010, due largely to declines in travel. In response to the declines in circulation and advertising revenue USA Today announced it would redesign its front page in 2011 and make changes to coverage areas and design. In 2013, USA Today nearly doubled its circulation from about 1.6 million to 2.9 million by adding it as an insert in other Gannett newspapers.
The paper’s had a newsroom staff of about 430 in 2014.
The newspaper was founded in 1982 as the United States’ first general-interest national newspaper. It was set apart by its colorful, television-inspired design and short, simple writing style, widely criticized but eventually adopted by many smaller newspapers.
USA Today occasionally has been recognized for its in-depth and investigative reporting, such as its 2006 stories about federal collections of domestic phone records.
In recent years, USA Today has made significant moves toward incorporating social media. In 2007, it redesigned its website to include article voting and user profile pages, changes that were praised by new-media observers. It was one of the most initially successful organizations in using the social media site Pinterest.
USA Today unveiled a print and website design in September 2012, with the website’s interface modeled after the scrolling interface of the iPad and other tablets. The web redesign was designed in part around allowing for more integration for multimedia ads. The paper was not included in Gannett’s company-wide paywall, and its publisher has said the paper isn’t unique enough to charge for content online. In the midst of that redesign effort, the paper hired Larry Kramer, former head of CBS Digital and founder of MarketWatch.com, as publisher, who introduced a stronger focus on mobile and social news. Kramer said in 2013 the paper was considering a paywall.
In 2012, USA Today’s Sports Media Group bought the sports aggregation site Quickish and launched its own sports aggregation service called Q the following year. USA Today also partnered with MLB Advanced Media to launch the sports opinion site Sports on Earth in July 2012. It launched the social news-oriented sports site For the Win in April 2013.
The newspaper has also partnered with the political news site Politico and the link aggregator Fark, and its iPad app was the device’s bestselling news app soon after the iPad was launched. The iPad app was relaunched in November 2012.
USA Today is one of four major news organizations to offer an open API, which allows third-party software developers to create applications that use the newspaper’s content. In 2011, it began licensing its content (for a fee) to commercial developers as well as noncommercial ones.
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