Following is text of the sharply worded letter USA Today Founder Al Neuharth wrote to Publisher Dave Hunke about the paper's publishing a Jeep ad that obscured the entire front page last month. This text originally appeared in today's New York Times.
July 16, 2010
There’s room for argument over which have been USA TODAY’s best front pages in its 28 years history. There is no doubt which has been its worst!
Turning last Monday’s entire front page over to an ad for Jeep was the low point in any decision any USA TODAY publisher has ever made.
The comment by Advertising EVP Lee Jones that “The look and feel will be very close to the way the paper looks” is equally unbelievable.
I’ve never received as many sad comments from past or present USA TODAY or Gannett people as I have this one.
If I had been Editor John Hillkirk (who is not among those I’ve heard from) I would have led the entire news staff walking out in protest. If such a stupid decision is ever made again, I hope that will be the result.
That would leave those who apparently don’t understand what a newspaper is to try to put one out without a news staff.
cc: Craig Dubow, John Hillkirk, Lee Jones