USA Today is getting a facelift of the digital variety. Once the young upstart amongst old-world newspapers, the daily is now modernizing both its website and print versions as a 30th birthday present to itself. The transition, which happened today, most notably includes ditching their long-held, familiar logo in favor of a glossier one. I guess getting old sucks.
New features for the print and digital editions include more prominence of photos on the main page, a coloring of their “pull quotes,” and listing Web TV schedules from Hulu
and Yahoo Screen in an attempt to connect with younger readers. Also, their digital edition is experiencing a refresh in the way they handle advertising. “I think the full-page digital ad will be the primary one of the future,” says Larry Kramer, the president and publisher in an interview with AdAge.com. In the near future, USA Today also hopes to begin utilizing “bottom third” advertising, which is most commonly used on television in the form of characters running across the screen or corner pop-ups.Perhaps the most radical update of all is a diversion from their atypical “just the facts” style of news reporting in favor of a more personality-laden style of writing. This change comes courtesy of Twitter’s
influence, where many of the USA Today’s bigger writers have a more free medium to voice their opinions.
Owned by the Gannett corporation, the largest newspaper publisher in the United States, the USA Today’s digital redesign comes courtesy of Kramer, who took over in May. The founder of Marketwatch, a financial website that keeps tabs on Wall Street, admits a redesign had been in the works for months before he took over, but he felt a real disconnect in the process, particularly on the print side. “We had a hugely talented group working on it, but without an editor or publisher involved (both spots were empty at the time) [t]here wasn’t clear guidance or decision making.”
Next up, Gannett’s Digital Design team is going to start refreshing the publishing corporation’s 80 other newspaper holdings. No word yet on whether the USA Today’s mid-life crisis will result in a sports car or a tattoo.