Friday, September 14, 2012

USAT | Watch out, Anna; here comes Larry!

[The devil vs. the pub: Wintour and Kramer]

USA Today has bought itself another 15 minutes of fame with its revamp in print today, and the beta relaunch of its website tomorrow. Here's a roundup of the past 24 hours of news coverage.

Advertising Age. Online, the new look was driven largely by a desire to give advertisers a new type of digital canvas with which to work. "I think the full-page digital ad will be the primary one of the future," said Larry Kramer, the MarketWatch founder who was hired in May as publisher.

Adweek. Kramer says the paper could launch a Web vertical devoted to style, taking aim at a market whose greatest power is scary magazine editor Anna Wintour. "Fashion could be done in a more usable way," Kramer says. "I think there’s a whole fashion world out there that’s different from the Vogue fashion world."

Associated Press. In the new digital editions, readers will have to click or finger through pages as if they're perusing a digital magazine. The page-turning model allows USAT to sell full-page interactive ads that support video. They will appear between news pages. On mobile devices, readers will flip through pages with a finger swipe, while on the Web, users will navigate back and forth by clicking on right or left arrows.

Charles Apple. The newspaper design blogger says: "I like what I'm seeing."

Editor & Publisher. In a commentary, USAT chronicler John Hartman says the paper will be kaput in three years. But then he admits: "Five years ago, I predicted in E&P that Rupert Murdoch would buy USAT and consolidate operations with The Wall Street Journal in an attempt to put The New York Times out of business. I was wrong."

Poynter Online. WTF does USAT mean by this? "We are reclaiming our leadership in visual storytelling with a new brand identity that’s as dynamic as the news itself, that’s an expression of our editorial voice, and vice versa."

Reuters. The big initiative will be to push for more original reporting, says Kramer, as opposed to relying on wire services to cover breaking news. He plans to use the budget and staff that he now has. (Uh-oh.) Eventually the strategy to improve news production and distribution will be rolled out across the company's U.S. newsrooms of 5,000 employees.

The New York Times. Kramer also plans to better pair the paper’s national investigative projects with local coverage; smaller papers will run USAT investigative stories with sidebars written by reporters about local impact. "This has to be an orchestra,” Kramer says. "It can’t be a single instrument anymore."

USAT. For its own story, the paper basically publishes a rewritten news release from management.

The Wall Street Journal. USAT is spending "millions" on the revamp. The company is promoting the redesign with an advertising campaign on outdoor, print, digital and television -- including by taking over all the advertising on the Grand Central subway platforms in New York City. 


  1. I smell your desperation Jimbo. You are literally praying for failure so your fans will keep coming here. Gannett's success spells your demise. Bye bye Jimbo

  2. Re: National investigative projects supplemented by local coverage (NYT excerpt). That's not new; that's been going on at least a year, probably longer. USAT/ContentOne sends advisories about database and investigative projects, along with suggestions for local-impact stories to go with each. It's up to the editors or reporters at each site to make the localization a priority (in addition to genuinely local or regional investigative pieces and daily/beat coverage they're already doing). Newsroom management is so fragmented at my site that this kind of stuff falls by the wayside.

  3. Gosh as of 9:48am the stock is at $17.75. Yep Wall Street hates the changes. You see layoffs and furloughs are about revenues people. An improved USAT results in higher revenues. Today's paper is a great example. Pile on all you want but at the end of the day when USAT is successful so our we. You may continue to dump on the changes now. I'm having a great day!

  4. For those who of you who keep knocking Jim, go away and lard up on Gannett stock.

  5. This may pass, but suddenly this blog and all it's oh-so-unhappy denizens seem especially irrelevant.

    Things sucked at usat for a long time. Now there is a way forward. Go for it, everybody!

    Maybe the blog should do a redesign as well!


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