Remembering USA Today founder Al Neuharth

USA Today | Associated Press

Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today and former Gannett chairman, died Friday. He was 89.

Gannett CEO Gracia Martore shared memories of Neuharth in a USA Today piece:

"Al was many things — a journalist, a leader, a serial entrepreneur, and a pioneer in advancing opportunities for women and minorities. But above all, he was an innovator with a unique sense of the public taste. ... I will miss his counsel, and I will miss the man. But as with all great people, what Al built will live on."

Neuharth, who died at his home in Cocoa Beach, FL., retired from Gannett in 1989 but continued writing his "Plain Talk" column for years after. Ken Paulson, a former USA Today editor, told the paper Friday: "Neuharth never retired and certainly never faded away."

In a 1986 video interview with The Poynter Institute, Neuharth spoke about his career in the media:

I don't consider myself a media tycoon; I've been in the newspaper business a long time. I've enjoyed everything I've done from the reporter on a very small paper in South Dakota to the CEO of a fairly big media chain."

Neuharth wrote a book, "Confessions of an SOB," about how to succeed in the corporate world.

In his interview with Poynter, Neuharth explained why he worked in journalism for so long.

"There's nothing I'd want to do with my life than to be in the news business," he said. "I think that gives us a window on the world that you cannot have in any other business or profession.

Here's the full video interview:

1986 Poynter Institute Interview with Al Neuharth from David Shedden on Vimeo.

  • Mallary Jean Tenore

    As managing editor of The Poynter Institute’s website,, I report on the media news industry, edit the site’s How To section, and moderate the site's live chats. I also help handle the site's social media efforts, and teach social media sessions on the side.


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