- User Rating: Excellent
Quality of news coverage:
Quality of editorial content:
Cons:Headlines change when story is continued; CNN as good.
The Bottom Line: Short, simple and to the point. This is Everyman's newspaper.
USA Today doesn't cater to the elite, the pseudo-intellectuals, or those who wouldn't be caught dead reading a "common person's" paper. Yet, the newspaper doesn't talk down to readers. Among the regular features are items of interest to everyone health, finances, careers, sports.
USA Today is very partial to colors. There are four sections, each one color-coded for quick recognition: News (blue); Money (green); Sports (red) and Life (purple). The photographs on the front page of every section are in color, as are many of the charts and graphs. This looks a little juvenile, but that's not a major criticism. The full page weather chart of the United States, on the back page of the Life section, makes determining the forecast for a region easy. A quick glance at today's paper might show me that Pennsylvania is light purple indicating snow showers. A little simplistic, but fine for those of us who aren't meteorologists.
Many of the stories fit on one page. In today's world, constant media updates, intense computer games and lightning Internet connections compete for the public's shortening attention span. Headlines, as well as the news stories that follow, need to be quick and punchy. If the reporters and editors strove to be a little more succinct, they could make all of the articles fit on one page. Sometimes, a story will start on one page, and continue on another, but the headline will change. A recent cover story has the headline "What makes people happy? Psychologists now know." The story continues on the second page with the headline "People may have a set point for happiness, as they do for weight." I had to think for a moment before I realized this was the same story. But I shouldn't have had to think about it.
"Across the USA" is a daily listing of news from all fifty states, including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. What qualifies as news is a paragraph of about 75 to 100 words of whatever the editors deem important. This section might be better titled "Tidbits from around the country." Whether these blurbs are newsworthy is subjective.
The front page of every section contains a "USA Snapshot" a color graph with often obscure demographic information. These might spotlight unemployment among Native American males, prescription drug use in the octogenarian population, number of pre-teens who have cell phones, etcetera. Whether these snapshots strike you as interesting or trivial, you have to appreciate the research that goes into them.
The sports section is very thorough. Unlike most males, I am not obsessed with sports, but I like to follow local teams. USA Today gives figures and statistics for every sport imaginable, with particular attention being paid to the big three -football, basketball and baseball. There are as many charts and graphs as sports stories. Some of the information is in tiny print and difficult to read, but after perusing a few issues, readers will know exactly where to find what they want. Regular columns include "Sports on TV" by Michael Hiestand and "Keeping Score" by Jon Saraceno.
Like any respectable newspaper, USA Today welcomes different and conflicting opinions. They generally take a left-wing stance, but letters from readers reflect a range of viewpoints. Our View and Opposing View eloquently and intelligently state two sides of a different daily issue. Readers who want to say more than a typical letter allows may compose a piece for The Forum.
One major disadvantage for USA Today is that readers can obtain as much information by watching CNN for an hour than by spending three or more reading the paper. Some people read much faster than that, but sitting in front of the TV is infinitely easier. For a long train or plane trip, USA Today's perfect.
USA Today prints five times a week, and the weekend section covers Friday through Sunday. How can a daily paper cover the whole weekend, unless the editors are clairvoyant? Granted, this is tongue in cheek on my part, but USA Today certainly has the resources to print a separate Saturday and Sunday edition. The publishers would have no trouble pricing the Sunday edition at $1.00. Who am I to suggest a major change like this? An Epinions reviewer, like everyone else on this site.
Read all 75 Reviews
Write a Review
Describe the newspaper's political views: It is liberal