Mashable provides a preview of the new, redesigned USA Today. It looks like they gave a graphic designer carte blanche and forgot to tell him to leave room for the news when he was done:
The paper itself has more color, more pull quotes, more images — including photos, charts and illustrations of columnists, the latter of which is designed to give the paper a more “personalized” feel — anything that will help USA Today convey stories as efficiently as possible. If a story about corn futures can be told just as well in a single, colorful chart captioned by a quote from an analyst as it can in a 2,000-word story, USA Today will do it...The paper is littered with incentives to tune in online for additional coverage. Readers are also encouraged to watch referenced videos on their smartphones by scanning QR codes printed in the paper. Letters to the editor have been made over to feature comments left by readers on Facebook, Twitter and USA Today‘s website. As such, USA Today‘s print and digital properties no longer feel like separate entities, but in conversation with each other.
I kind of like the second part of that quote, about the relationship between print and digital. I'm not crazy about QR codes—they're ugly and nobody uses them, even though marketers love them—but I do think incorporating tweets and comments into the letters to the editor page is smart. (The Atlantic recently redesigned their front of book to include digital commentary, and I think they have one of the best letters to the editor sections in media right now.)
But the first part of the quote gives me a serious sense of deja vu. People have been complaining about USA Today's blurbicle style of fact-less reporting for decades, and now they're pushing that concept even further. The new front page looks less like a collection of pieces of writing and more like a website designed by someone who saw a newspaper once, a few years ago. The Huffington Post often contains more information in its splash page than this mockup of a USA Today front page. But enough about me: What do you think?