USA Today is a national American newspaper published by the Gannett Corporation. The paper has the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States (averaging over 2.25 million copies every weekday), and among English-language broadsheets, it comes second world-wide, just behind The Times of India. It is distributed to all 50 states and was founded by Allen "Al" Neuharth.
Colorful and bold, with many large diagrams, charts, and photographs, USA Today was founded in 1982 with the goal of providing an alternative to the relatively colorless and wordy papers of the time such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. USA Today is also well-known for its national polls on public sentiment.
Early on, the newspaper strived to set itself apart in distribution methods as well. The paper is still sold in unique newspaper racks with curved edges that some say resemble television sets more than newspaper racks. USA Today was also eager to latch onto the business traveler and as such, was heavily distributed through airlines, airports, and hotels in addition to other sales outlets. The newspaper was also among the first newspapers to use satellite transmissions to send the final edition of the newspaper to multiple locations across the country for printing and final distribution in those regional markets. The innovation of using satellites and regional printing hubs allowed the paper to push back deadlines and include the most recent news and sports scores in each edition.
The paper has proved to be a consumer success. However, some critics have accused it of trivializing news stories. It has a distinct prose style, which infrequently uses subordinate clauses in sentences, and tends to have no more than three brief sentences per paragraph, meant to allow for easier reading. As a result, in its early days it was derisively referred to as 'McPaper' or 'McNewspaper' in a reference to the simplicity and fast-food of McDonald's (which now distributes it). However, the style of using color, graphics and smaller features has been imitated by other printed newspapers and magazines. In addition, it has been widely praised for its sports coverage.
From its start in 1982 until fall 2001, Larry King was a columnist for USA Today.
In 2001, the newspaper moved into its new 30 acre (120,000 m²) headquarters in McLean, Virginia not far from its old building in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C..
In 1989 USA Today printed up a special version of the paper, dated October 22, 2015, for the film Back to the Future Part II. If that paper is anything to go by, USA Today will have 6 billion readers by 2015!
In March 2004, the newspaper was hit by a major scandal when it was revealed that Jack Kelley, a long-time USA Today correspondent and nominee for the Pulitzer Prize, had been fabricating stories. The newspaper did an extensive review of Kelley's stories, including sending investigators to Cuba, Israel and Jordan, and sifting through stacks of hotel records to determine if Kelley was in the locations he claimed to be filing stories from. Kelley resigned, but denied the charges. The USA Today publisher, Craig Moon , issued a public apology on the front page of the newspaper. Many remarked on the similarity of this scandal to that of the Jayson Blair situation at the New York Times, although it received less national attention.
See also: Journalistic fraud