The company launched its “Butterfly” initiative in October, adding the USA Today inserts to the Indianapolis Star, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, The News-Press (Fort Myers, Fla.) and The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wisc.), USA Today reported.
“This is another step in the re-invention of news that Gannett is uniquely positioned to lead,” said Gracia Martore, president and CEO of Gannett, which owns USA TODAY and 81 local newspapers. “With today’s announcement, we are bringing the power of these brands together to delight and engage consumers like no one else can.”
The Butterfly edition, which can range from 10 pages on weekdays to 22 on Sunday, includes content from USA Today’s news, business and lifestyle sections, the paper reported.
The distribution plan allows USA TODAY to include the circulation figures from the local papers to its own total. Alliance for Audited Media, which audits newspaper circulation, has given its approval to that practice. The 35 local newspapers that will be part of the Butterfly initiative have a combined circulation of more than 1.5 million on weekdays and more than 2.5 million on Sunday, the company said.
The announcement fueled online speculation that Gannett would cancel Associated Press service for the newspapers involved. Company spokesman Jeremy Gaines told Poynter via email: “No. Not the case at all.”