Home USA Today: Goin’ Mobile

USA Today: Goin’ Mobile

The national newspaper USA Today has announced a shift from print with an online presence to a “multi-platform media company” with an emphasis on mobile.

This is a far cry from a year ago when one of its writers blamed that kind of technology for everything from educational shortcomings to car crashes.

This shift of emphasis was outlined in an employee slide show obtained by the Associated Press.

“We’ll focus less on print … and more on producing content for all platforms (Web, mobile, iPad and other digital formats),”

The details of the platform shift have not been announced and are probably still being worked through.

More Juice for the Digital Crew

The reformatting of the paper will be accompanied by a number of promotions, reassignments and new hires. Among the most interesting are the promotions of two former leaders of the paper’s online presence.

Jeff Dionise, previously the Director of Design for USATODAY.com, is now Vice President of Product Development and Design. Steve Kurtz, previously Director of Digital Information Technology for USATODAY.com is now serving as Vice President of Digital Development.

The Bad News

Rudd Davis, formerly President and founder of BNQT, has joined the paper as a new Director of Business development. With a host of new platforms to seek partnerships through, this could partially make up for the last year’s 29% in ad revenue and the 14% decline in paid circulation over the last year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The “collaborative relationship” between Davis and the new content head, Susan Weiss, that was mentioned in one of the slides, may help as well. It may also attract criticism, however. The independence of editorial content from business concerns has traditionally been a hallmark of serious journalism.

The paper had announced an intent to charge for its iPad app starting July 4, which has not happened, yet.

This focus on mobile and other platforms is accompanied, unfortunately by a layoff of about 130 employees, according to the paper’s publisher David L. Hunke. That’s just under 10 percent of the paper’s 1,500 employees.

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