Thursday, June 28, 2012

USAT | The smallest headline on the biggest story

For a moment after landing on USA Today's homepage just minutes ago, I couldn't find one of the biggest stories of the year -- and perhaps the biggest out of the Supreme Court since Bush vs. Gore more than a decade ago. Is that a tiny headline for a major story or what?

Related: From Politico, Publisher Larry Kramer's vision for USAT.


  1. On this story, what would be an example of the kind of "pronounced voice" Larry Kramer is seeking?

  2. Literally 10 hours after the decision, to still be screaming about the ruling would be nuts. Usa Today has plenty of strong smart coverage and readers can find it.

    This is really reaching. Your example is the page at 8:20 at night!

  3. Where IS Kramer?

  4. Stop with the idiotic tease, Hopkins. This is like when you were in front of the board. . If you have criticisms to make, make them.

    I find the what next full of useful and well-organized information that affects real people, not just the politics of it which is covered elsewhere.

    What is your problem? You're like Edward G. Robinson in 10 Commandants. Where's your messiah now?


  5. You are correct Jim. What a shame.

  6. You are nitpicking, Jim. Digital has far broader, endemic problems. It should be the dog, not the tail. But no manger inspires any confidence and the second guessing amongt staff and print siders is rampant.

    Keystone Cops meets The Three Stooges with a little Yaba Dabba Do thrown in.

  7. 9:35 That was not meant to be a tease. I was asking for readers' opinion on that particular story.

    This post was and is about USAT's online presentation of a huge news event -- not about the content of its coverage. (In fact, that's a lot of terrific stuff there.)

    Too often, USAT's homepage presentation doesn't give enough weight to big news, and this was but one example. This will all be moot, I assume, once the site is relaunched later this summer/fall.

    That relaunch might address some fundamental weaknesses in how is organized. To cite one example: Click on the Health & Wellness link from the homepage, and tell me how many stories you find about yesterday's ruling and its impact. I can't find anything.

    To be fair, I struggled to find easy entry to all the health reform coverage at the New York Times and Wall Street Journal websites, too. (I did, however, find this NYT roundup very helpful.)

    In the end, of course, my opinion matters far less than that of the paper's readers -- and one reader in particular: Larry Kramer.

    It would be very, very interesting to hear Kramer's critique of yesterday's and today's coverage -- how it does (and doesn't) reflect the direction he wants to take USAT.

  8. We've relaunched different products more often than the space shuttle fleet.

    At some point, the decision has to be made that profit comes before revenue and unprofitable stuff needs to go away.

    Why do we print lists of homes for sale, in books or ROP? Anyone who wants a home will go where they can see everything in their price range, weeding out everything else automatically.

    Why do we waste internet space on covering communities outside our NDM, or with low connectivity percentages?

    Yes, you'll have to make up the revenue someplace else. But having sales execs dropping everything else for three days to sell DealChicken means everything else... has been dropped.

    I know logic is in worldwide short supply, but at some point - retire the fleet.

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  11. If you want to see how to do it, see how NYT did it yesterday, and last night, etc. No screamer headline, but several heads and pix gallery, plenty of context, reefer links,etc.

  12. Who are the 27 million Americans USA Today’s story refers to that won’t have health insurance even after this law goes in to affect as wasn’t this going to cover all Americans?

    1. Refers to those in the U.S. without documentation. They are barred from the exchanges. So they'll still us emergency rooms. USAT incorrectly refers to them as "Americans.". Go figure...

  13. On Morning Joe he held up the New york times, Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. All had huge headlines and front page stories. He didn't show USA Today it's small headline. No wonder why USA today is disappearing.

  14. That small headline was online last night. Today's print edition carries a banner headline saying, "Still standing."

    For now, you can see it on the Newseum's website.

  15. My opinion is that USAT increasingly misplays stories -- particularly in the last couple of years. This either is due to poor/unseasoned news judgment or bad design skills, or both. Regardless, USAT is showing a lot of stress fractures from being short staffed and having an increasingly inexperienced editorial staff. I don't think anyone can deny that journalism at the nation's newspaper leaves something to be desired. Frankly, I wouldn't work there if I took pride in things like not getting beat on major stories.

  16. @8:20 a.m. well put. I especially liked your line about logic.

  17. “Refers to those in the U.S. without documentation.” 1:30 PM

    If true, then USAT writing “27 million are Americans” when they clearly are not is a slap in the face to professional journalist who vowed to the tell the truth and to the readers they serve.

    Frankly, if anyone needs proof on why big media is increasingly less trusted, then all need look no further than USAT’s taking great liberty with the facts here. Hopkins silence on it (and others) despite seeking comments on this story, says he’s okay with it too.

    Though, since this is an anonymous forum, it would be nice to see someone here with the balls to defend why telling readers that lie is okay.

    It’s not.


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