In 30 years, what many (myself included) derided as McNews for its super-brief news bits, has evolved into a newspaper that has national impact and does some serious reporting. Every day, USA Today reaches more than 1.8 million people, second only to The Wall Street Journal and a bit more than The New York Times.
Even after 30 years, USA Today tends to homogenize stories, giving us just the top-line information. But at a quick glance, readers can get a sense of what's important that's happening around the country and the world. If you want more details and background, you generally need to go elsewhere, which isn't hard these days thanks to the internet.
But USA Today has done some serious reporting over the years, with in-depth features in all areas of the news including business, entertainment and sports. And they've broken some important stories, too. Indeed, this bold experiment of 30 years ago has become a part of our lives.
Gannett, USA Today's owner, has been promoting for a while a new design that would launch as it hits 30. Looking at the first issue on Friday, it seemed much ado about not much. They've added more graphics and more color, and it looks like they're making even more use of colorful charts and graphs than in the past. But the content seems to be pretty much the same.
The new logo leaves me cold. The circle of color changes with the various sections, using the blue for the main news section, green for business, purple for lifestyle and red for sports, as in the past. But, to me, it's not at all distinct. Maybe I'll get used to it after time.
Hopefully Gannett won't slash editorial jobs at USA Today, as they've done at many of the their local papers, seriously compromising the quality and depth of local news coverage. USA Today, of course, isn't a local paper, but they still need reporters and editors to continue putting out what's turned out to be a fairly good paper.
Hopefully, even in this disastrous time for the health of our newspapers, USA Today will celebrate another anniversary in 30 years.
Meanwhile... any thoughts on the new logo and layout design?