USA TODAY transformed the media world for good. What’s its legacy now?

Gannett’s ‘McPaper’ drew scorn when it debuted 42 years ago. It ended up anticipating the future of news. But as USA TODAY loses another editor in chief, does it still have a place in national media?


It was snappy and colorful. It was new and different.

And much of the rest of the newspaper industry seemed to hate it.

USA TODAY left critics aghast when it debuted 42 years ago. Rival editors sneered at its bite-sized news stories and its relentlessly cheerful tone. (Headline on a plane crash story in the first edition: “Miracle: 327 survive, 58 die”) The reporting was often so brief and superficial that even insiders joked that their work would win awards for “best investigative paragraph.” It was quickly dubbed “McPaper,” the news equivalent of junk food.

The joke was on the critics.

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