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Key links:
Primary website:
usatoday.com
Primary Twitter:
@usatoday

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

USA Today is a national daily newspaper based in McLean, Va., and owned by the media company Gannett.

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.

Beginning in 2014, USA Today provides daily content for Gannett’s other newspapers. It also expanded its nationwide coverage around the same time.

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.

Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
July 14, 2017 / Ricardo Bilton
With help from local papers, USA Today is boosting the ambition and publishing speed of its VR projects — Earlier this year, Facebook approached the USA Today virtual reality team with a proposal. Facebook’s developer conference, F8, was a few weeks away, and the company was looking to partner with news organizations o...
May 12, 2017 / Laura Hazard Owen
Local news doesn’t seem to be getting a Trump bump — The latest print issue of the Columbia Journalism Review focuses on local news. The publication is posting the articles online throughout May. Some digital tidbits: — As part of a survey of 420 journalists at small (ci...
July 19, 2016 / Shan Wang
As USA Today network builds its investigative ambitions, it looks to keep things in the Gannett family — Gannett has been trying to swallow whole the company formerly known as Tribune Publishing, while continuing to buy up newspapers around the country. In April it concluded its acquisition of Journal Media Group — which ...
June 27, 2016 / Joseph Lichterman
Mississippi Today, backed by an NBC exec, aims to be the Texas Tribune of its undercovered state — Mississippi has one of the thinnest statehouse press corps in the United States. In 2014, there were just four full-time reporters — one for every 741,824 Mississippians — covering the state government in Jackson. Th...
April 25, 2016 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: After Gannett’s $815 million Tribune bid, here are eight things to look out for — How shocking is Gannett’s now-public, hostile move to buy Tribune Publishing for $815 million? Entirely, and then not at all. The news world has lost its compass and, as the ads say, past performance is no guarante...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: July 17, 2014.
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