When USA Today launched 30 years ago, it was a new kind of paper – “the Nation’s Newspaper,” without a hometown, brightly colored and with lots of infographics. For the most part, it was a newspaper lite, the subject of casual derision and a brief glance over a continental breakfast in hotels in Omaha or Orlando.
“Its heavy integration of graphics and color photos in the pages, which was controversial at the time of the launch, went on to influence many U.S. and foreign newspapers to inject more style and color into their products,” wrote USA Today.
But in the past thirty years, a lot has changed. Travelers download newspapers on their iPads and check twitter on their phones before they get out of bed. The Internet exists.
The newspaper’s circulation is down, although with a circulation of 1.7 million, it is still the second largest print daily in the country (behind The Wall Street Journal). But the Gannett Company’s flagship paper has not established an internet or tablet presence at a time when that has essential.
“The only real criticism we got was that it was tired, stale, and hasn’t changed,” USA Today‘s president and publisher, Larry Kramer, told Reuters. (No, not that Larry Kramer. The Larry Kramer who started MarketWatch).
Or maybe the problem is not enough infographics and colors that are not bright enough. Cue a redesign.
The new, redesigned paper will debut today, and the new website and tablet app will launch tomorrow.
“The new look of USA Today is designed to take ‘visual storytelling to the next level’ by displaying more color, photos and infographics. The States page will contain photos for the first time, while the Weather page will sport a cleaner look,” USA Today writes about their redesign.
There will be two new sections, tech and travel. There will be an average of 24 color pages rather than the current average of 13. The colors will be brighter. The tablet editions will be better. And most importantly, a new logo.
“A dynamic new logo that will be used to express USA Today’s editorial spirit.” We don’t know what that editorial spirit is, but the new logo is a blue circle rather than a white and blue globe.