USA Today – Maybe the First Test of iPad’s Ability to Save Publishing

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In a drastic shake-up, USA Today is restructuring in order to focus more on mobile and iPad content and less on print.

That’s just the opening slice of a recent report at Apple Insider on the plans for USA Today to focus more on the iPad and mobile rather than its traditional print medium. One of the ‘magical’ powers that many have envisaged for the iPad is the ability to ‘save publishing’.  It certainly seems that a lot of leading print media titles and organizations are turning a lot of their attention of late to the iPad and digital publishing in general.

Here’s a little more detail on USA Today’s plans, from the Apple Insider article:

Details of the reorganization were announced Thursday and reported by The Associated Press. Roughly 130 staff will be cut during "the most dramatic overhaul" in the newspaper’s 28-year history.

Despite being the second largest newspaper in the US, USA Today has struggled to keep circulation up and sell advertising in recent years. Circulation has dropped from 2.3 million in 2007, when USA Today was America’s largest newspaper, to an average of 1.83 million. In its most recent quarter, the newspaper sold just 580 pages of advertising, compared to 1,098 pages sold in the same quarter of 2006. …

Thursday’s announcement is a radical solution to reverse the paper’s downward trend. Separate managing editors overseeing sections of the paper will instead be replaced by a cluster of "content rings" overseen by an executive editor of content. …

"We have to go where the audience is," USA Today Editor John Hillkirk said. "If people are hitting the iPad like crazy, or the iPhone or other mobile devices, we’ve got to be there with the content they want, when they want it.

I’ve never been a big fan of the print version of USA Today – but I like its iPad edition a lot.  In fact I think it’s the best general interest newspaper iPad edition I’ve seen so far, one that does a very good job embracing what the iPad can do.

Hopefully their iPad edition will be a success – it deserves to be. 

For lots more detail on this see the Apple Insider report here:

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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