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03 May 2011 23:27


Biz: Newspaper pulse check: Why one paper’s circulation skyrocketed

  • The newspaper is doing OK right now. Not great, just OK. In the past six months, that gray newsprint behemoth did OK, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, with the top two papers gaining some ground and most of the top five staying roughly in the same order. However, the way that the group analyzed the data changed this time around — deciding, instead of focusing just on paid circulation, to emphasize “average circulation,” which includes separate editions under the umbrella of a certain brand. The numbers caused one paper to rocket into the top five and one to fall out. See if you can guess by the numbers below:
  • 2.1 million daily circulation for the top-ranked Wall Street Journal
  • 1.8 million average daily circulation for the still-second-place USA Today
  • 916,911 average daily circulation for the freshly-paywalled New York Times
  • 605k average daily circulation for the Los Angeles Times
  • 577k average daily circulation for the San Jose Mercury News
  • 550k average daily circulation for the Washington Post source
  • » A few things of note: If you guessed that the San Jose Mercury News benefited greatly from the change in data, you’re correct — MediaNews treats each newspaper on this page as an “edition” of the Mercury News (which seems a little number-inflating). Other notes: This data covers the daily circulation for the past six months — a period which only includes a tiny bit of the New York Times’ post-paywall circulation (so come back in six months to see if it was a success). But e-editions are doing quite well, especially for the Wall Street Journal and Detroit Free Press. One last thing: The numbers only cover paid newspapers, not free ones. (photo by Brent D. Payne)

06 Nov 2010 15:18


Culture: USA Today used Comic Sans on its front page Friday. NOOOOO

  • NO. NO. NO. NO. No. No. No. This is wrong. No. USA Today needs to stop doing this. Not even Conan can make this usage desirable. (Thanks to Danny Unruh, @kstateunruh for the image)

28 Aug 2010 18:00


Biz: Web reinvention at USA Today means lots of layoffs

  • 9% of the paper’s jobs (out of 1,500) will go away source

22 Jun 2010 10:36


Politics: USA Today makes a pretty stupid criticism of Rolling Stone

  • Look, no matter your opinion of the mag, they’ve never strictly been a music mag. So why is USA Today launching into this criticism of the magazine in regards to the Stanley McChrystal article? Here’s what they said: “One of the odd things about this story: What’s it doing in Rolling Stone, a magazine devoted largely to music?” Maybe you haven’t read the magazine in 30 years, but their political coverage is spot-on. They have a pretty amazing political cud-chewer in the form of Matt Taibbi. And the features are usually awesome. Criticizing Rolling Stone for coverage they’ve always had is tantamount to ignorance. Now, their music coverage, on the other hand … that’s gone downhill. (Disclosure: We got bit by the journalism bug reading long features in Rolling Stone. Somehow we ended up here.) source

14 Jun 2010 21:22


Biz: Three reasons why Starbucks’ wi-fi plan could be big for newspapers

  • Smart synergy USA Today’s most brilliant move was brokering deals with hotels to give free copies of the paper to patrons. It helped them build their brand. Starbucks’ deal with the WSJ could be the modern equivalent of that, except more effective.
  • People do this already If you’ve ever been in a coffee shop, you know that copies of the newspaper are already sitting around for people to read if they so choose. This is the exact same thing without the paper waste. (Or the social elements, but alas.)
  • New business model If this works, it could effectively turn into a new revenue model for the newspaper industry, one that could be replicated in bookstores, restaurants and other public meeting places. Hope the WSJ is getting paid well for this.

04 Apr 2010 10:39


Tech: Early thoughts: The iPad as news curation tool (is it worth it?)

  • Our take? It depends on the app. Right now, the iPad does three things really well. It allows you to surf the Web at nearly the same clip as a laptop, it rules at non-Flash video playback, and it allows you to read the news better than either a newspaper or Web browser. For a 1.0 product, this is polished. But we’re journalism nerds that read a lot of links, so let’s focus our appeal. How is reading and curating news on this thing, anyway? (Hint: Pretty good.)

First: What a good news app needs

  • one A simple format that makes it easier, not harder, to read the news. It’s not a newspaper or a Web site; it’s a little of both
  • two An easy way to share content – you should be able to copy quotes, tweet links, and e-mail articles to a friend (or yourself)
  • three A solid offline reading mode – these apps need to be able to work without a wi-fi connection nearby; all of the apps had this

Second: The best news apps

  • best The Reuters app is
    easy to scan, and
    best-formatted for
    the iPad. It’s also
    the one that tried to
    look least like a
  • great The USA Today
    app has a mix of
    strong readability,
    easy organization,
    and smart uses of
    swiping. It’s nearly
    as good as the
    Reuters app.
  • eh The New York
    app isn’t
    bad, but its body
    type isn’t on the grid. The Wall Street Journal app tends to overreact
    to tiny movements.
  • wtf The Associated
    app went all
    scrapbook with
    their format, which
    is OK – for a
    scrapbook. For
    reading hard news,
    it’s very annoying.

Third: Twitter on the iPad

  • Best balance Twitterrific was designed for the iPad the way that one would expect someone to use an iPad Twitter app. The use of Twitter lists, for example, makes for great news-reading. Less is more in this case.

  • Most complex TweetDeck could stand to be a little less complicated right now. It loads too many windows at once and comes across as a bit bloated and overwhelming. A bit more interface furniture to clean up the look would help this greatly.

  • Best mashup As many people know, the EchoFon/Firefox setup is hard to top for reading linked tweets, and TweetBrowser goes a long way to replicate that on the iPad. Only issue: We wish we could hide the feed in the horizontal format.
  • » One side note: Webkit’s skills at rendering the Twitter web apps are mostly pretty good. The web version of Hootsuite is actually better than the iPad-native version of TweetDeck on the iPad. Threadsy also works great, as does the Web version of Seesmic. You’ll have to use a two-finger swipe to navigate, though, which can be cumbersome.

Overall: What did we think?

  • » What we like: It’s a good reading format, and Safari could handle nearly everything we threw at it (except the TinyMCE rich-text editor, which means it sucks for blogging because WordPress uses that). The format is awesome for video and music. Once Hulu and Spotify get apps on here, it’s seriously a one-stop shop. Also, being able to load articles on the device and take it on the wi-fi-less D.C. Metro was downright perfect.
  • » What we don’t like: It can be hard to hold the device upright, especially if you’re not sitting at a table. It’s strange that Apple didn’t consider putting a kickstand on the back. The keyboard is usable but not heavy-duty. Apple should consider putting in (or allowing) additional keyboard setups that make it more usable for typing in HTML. Right now, it’s a serious chore.
  • » What we want to see: Surprisingly, we don’t miss multitasking on the iPad – it actually wasn’t noticeable for most apps. But we think someone needs to create a single app that mixes social media, web browsing and blogging/word processing. TweetBrowser gets the first two down, but WordPress‘ app isn’t designed for this at all. We smell opportunity (eh, Tumblr?).

01 Apr 2010 00:17


Tech: USA Today: The iPad will be the first popular tablet computer

  • Edward Baig and Jefferson Graham of the newspaper both agree: The iPad is an amazing device. Graham, in the video above, notes some flaws, including the challenge of getting content on the device. But both seemed super-impressed, and in Baig’s case, he suggests that netbook creators may have to redesign their devices to compete: “They’ll have to adapt or disappear — especially since their price advantage compared with the entry-level iPad isn’t as great as some might have thought it would be.” (hat tip TUAW) source

15 Jul 2009 12:57


Tech: We’re convinced USA Today is trying to run us out of business

  • This shot of brilliance was put together by USA Today as a way to present all the headlines of the day like a deck of cards. Flip them over, and it reorders them. Our management isn’t going to like this, guys. source

24 May 2009 11:36


Tech: The latest iPhone app news we got to offer to the masses

  • one Apple’s policy of rejecting apps based on some minor content flaw continues, this time with an eBook reader featuring a book on Kama Sutra.
  • two On Friday, watch maker Cartier sued Apple for hosting iPhone apps which mimicked their expensive time-tickers. On Saturday, they backed off.
  • three Finally, have you tried out the USA Today iPhone app? It’s freaking amazing. It’s easily the high standard as far as newspaper apps go. It freaking rules, kids.

19 Jan 2009 15:36


Sports: Wake Forest is on top of the college hoops world

  • 1st Wake Forest’s ranking in both of the major college basketball polls
  • 16-0 the Demon Deacons’ record; they’ve vanquished tough unbeaten foes (see: Clemson) for the honor source