Signaling that the future of the news business lies in digital and not print, USA Today editor-in-chief David Callaway told attendees at an Internet Week “Future of Media” panel in New York this week that the paper could stop publishing a daily edition as soon as in the next “five or six years.”
Callaway added that it’s still likely that a print product in some form will continue for “the rest our careers,” which may not be very long based on how much newspapers across the country are cutting staff.
Recognizing that the future of newspapers is bleak at best, USA Today’s parent company, Gannett, is spinning off the news division on July 1 and will focus on its television stations, which still generate the bulk of the profits and revenue for the company.
Even though Callaway said that USA Today is still lucrative for Gannett, the paper’s circulation fell 17% in the six-month period ending September 30, 2014 compared to the prior year, and continues to lose subscribers as readers switch to the digital edition or turn elsewhere for their news.
Even at its peak, USA Today never had much influence and was derided as a ‘McPaper” for its emphasis on short stories versus in depth reporting. It isn’t likely to be missed if and when it does cease publication.