The New York Times, among others, had an article marking the 25th anniversary of USA Today – the much derided but undeniably popular national newspaper. I found it fascinating that the Times lauded its rival for a list of innovations and achievements. I’ve long been a fan of USA Today – despite the heavy emphasis on frothy topics in its early days – because it offered me something other newspapers did not: legitimate national coverage, solid sports and entertainment news, user-friendly layouts and content, and easy access anywhere around the globe. Other than the Herald Tribune – which is too short and typically costs a bundle – USA Today is the only newspaper I could buy during my travels to get fresh news about my favorite hockey team (the Maple Leafs) or a snapshot of major business developments. Sure, the paper didn’t have the reporting chops or depth of other publications, but over the years I read many stories in USA today that were avoided or ignored by other outlets. As the Times notes, USA Today’s strategy seems to have been prescient – the paper now seems ideally suited for the digital age where easy-on-the-eyes visual content, easy access, bite-size chunks of information and use of viewer feedback are popular, if not expected. Their website carries on this tradition of innovation and focus on readers rather than pedigree. Sometimes all you need is a good, quick read. Happy birthday.

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