The Washington Post | MarketWatch
New USA Today president and publisher Larry Kramer lays out some of his vision for the paper to the Post’s Steven Mufson: “unique voices,” bloggers that matter, investigative reporting, being “uber strong in entertainment.”
“I don’t want to give away too much,” he says, but he adds that the paper will build “closer relationships with our readers” through new uses of technologies. “We’re going to give people what they want, when they want it, where they want it. You want it on your watch, I’ll give it to you. Or inside of your sunglasses.”
USA Today, MarketWatch’s Jon Friedman notes, “is not widely known for having a commanding Web presence.” But sports is different; that vertical “accounts for about half of usatoday.com’s unique users,” Mufson writes. Its USA Today Sports Media Group acquired Big Lead Sports in January and US Presswire last September.
On Monday, Jim Romenesko reported that US Presswire’s photographers will cover the 2012 Olympics for the paper while all but one of USA Today’s photographers stay home. At the time of USA Today’s acquisition, the Gannett Blog wrote that US Presswire “contracts with scores of freelance sports photographers, many of whom work on spec, with no promise of getting paid. That allows it to sell images at bargain-basement prices.”
Photojournalists are naturally concerned about this further erosion of job security, as evidenced by the hurly-burly discussion about it on SportsShooter in the last couple of days. In 2010, Gannett announced it was “testing the benefits of adding US PRESSWIRE’s daily regional photo coverage for all Gannett-owned newspapers and broadcast properties.”
USA Today Sports Media Group is in charge of sports at all Gannett properties and includes HighSchoolSports.net, MMAjunkie.com and BNQT.com. In a presentation to investors in February, Gannett said it expected the division “to be among the top five sports media companies in the country with over $300 million in annual revenue by 2015.”
USA Today established the Sports Media Group in August 2010 and named Tom Beusse as its president in January 2011. Even before the Olympics dustup, its rise within the company had reportedly led to tensions with the paper’s legacy sports staff.