Thursday, March 31, 2011

USAT | What's more interesting than sex?

"It's sleep," according to USA Today, which just moments ago announced the launch of five "female-focused" blogs on its Your Life vertical devoted to health, beauty -- and, of course, advertisers. Your Life itself got launched five months ago.

One of the new blogs -- Sleep Matters -- will be devoted to just that: "how to get enough of it and why it's so vital to our all-around health." Its author is Dr. Qanta Ahmed, who has a private practice in New York and is an associate professor of medicine at SUNY.

According to USAT's announcement, Ahmed offers advice on emerging sleep research, the complicated world of sleep disorders as well as trends in how the American public's lack of sleep can affect mood, weight, health, work and family.

Z-z-z-z-z-z-z . . .

Ooops. Cue Heather Frank, USAT's vice president of consumer media. "The addition of these fresh female voices,'' she says, "continues the USA Today commitment to publishing news and advice on topics that are vital to American families' health and well-being."

The other four blogs are focused on:
  • Family and friends. "Sound advice on topics as far ranging as disciplining teens and preserving marriages to surviving in-laws."
  • Beauty. "A frank discussion of women and beauty and what beauty means."
  • Careers. "Real-life solutions on how to achieve work/life balance."
  • Yet more beauty. "Intelligent advice on skincare, weight, hair care, new products, tempting trends and celeb looks."
But are the bloggers already in a topic rut?

The most recent post from Ellen Seidman's OwnIt beauty blog: Last week was full of compliments on how good she looked. Different makeup? Nope: "For the first time in months," she says, "I'd gotten eight hours of sleep several nights in a row. It was absolutely, positively depressing: this realization that I actually looked better with sleep."

[Image: Newseum. USAT's front page cover story today asks, "Is dating dead?"]


  1. My god, this is disgusting.

  2. So the transformation of USA Today from a newspaper into a supermarket tabloid continues apace, and is being redirected to appeal only to women, no longer men. So they are giving up the considerable workforce of salesmen (yes, they are predominantly men) who travel the country on various sales missions, and sought out USA Today at breakfast time in their hotels. Forget the muscle car ads, tire ads. Bring in Elizabeth Arden, Purelle, etc.
    P.S. And forget about reaching out to that 18-35 year old demographic. Stories about cougars and sleeping is NOT what this generation wants to read.

  3. I have got to admit that the realm of sleep is seldom addressed in newspaper columns. Perhaps an undiscovered niche?

  4. Where is Sigmund Freud when we need him?

  5. So this venture is going to be like Cosmo but without the sex? Sorry, this 29 year old female is not interested.

  6. USA Today is reacting to the Daily Mail, a midmarket British daily that teases women-centered stories at almost every turn. The Daily Mail has gotten so many US readers that it now has a separate US homepage and US showbiz section.

  7. That's true about the Daily Mail, in spite of the fact that it is the most anti-American of the British dailies. Britain does have a movie industry of its own centered in London, and they cover that.

  8. More pablum, what's new. When are the geniouses in this industry going to figure out that all age demographics are abandoning traditional media because they're continuing to lose trust in what they're being fed, like this silliness underway at USA Today.

    So GE doesn't pay taxes on $14.2 billion in profit. Why not run a story about the top 200 corporations and what they paid in 2010 taxes, and then connect those dots by running another story alerting citizens that proposed Congressional budget cuts are focused on 2% of the total federal budget that funds such unsavory notions like NPR and PBS, Head Start, college tuition assistance, and programs that support those among us who can least afford to lose more. Tell us what the other 98% of the federal budget totals and what it comprises. But don't stop there, not if you're really smart and want to win back a younger generation that's growing more cynical about our "marketing" of the news. Head on over to the Food and Drug Administration and show these young people why we have regulations that allow hundreds of cancer causing chemicals and additives in our food processing and health products all of which are roundly prohibited by the Europeans. Better still, take a look at who occupies senior decision making jobs at federal oversight agencies. Oh my, they're largely former employees of agri-business and pharamaceutical companies. In energy its the oil and gas guys developing regulations and policies in support of greed rather than public safety. Fox guarding the chickens? Where are the stories about THIS life impactful stuff?

    There is a higher consciousness developing in this country and certainly with this web savy generation, and selling a product is all going to boil down to trust. People just don't trust traditional media because somewhere along the way it stopped being the lighthouse. Today if you want the truth, you have to dig for it like a mole, piece it together and make your own informed decisions because it appears no one, and certainly not major media wants to inform anyone outside of an increasingly narrow avenue of programmed thought.

  9. 8:45 I like your post. It all started with 24 hour news on cable and has eroded non-stop since then. You would think (with the proliferation of news channels) we would be more informed. But we are actually less informed. Everyone is consuming news in 10 second bites and 140 characters. Trust me, there will be a full circle effect where eventually this highly educated younger generation will demand more. Even though they are the ones who are currently creating all the fast, loose, channels of information distribution. They will one day care deeply about reading "the truth" about their kids' education, their food poisons, their health, and their misapropriated taxes. And maybe journalism will live again.

  10. Entertainment columns are easy and cheap. Real reporting is hard and expensive.

  11. But look at the sleazy ads these entertainment stories are bringing. Sure, it's money, but it's dragging down what used to be a first class product.


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