Idol Chatter

Unless you paid close attention, you may have missed the major cultural event that took place last Friday all over the country. What is it?
Well, in a small box on the top–and in a small column at the bottom of page 1–USA Today announced it was celebrating it’s 25th anniversary.
Whether you read your daily news online or pick up a local paper in the morning, you may be among the millions who count on USA Today and It’s concise. It’s colorful. It’s conversational. Or so it says in its very short celebration note. I think it’s inspiring that they’re accomplishing their mission. Or at least I would opine that they are accomplishing it.
“Welcome to USA Today,” said founder Al Neuharth on the bottom of the front page 25 years ago. In these 25 years, its mission has been “to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation.” USA Today claims to be the ‘the nation’s newspaper” by offering a 50-state perspective and focusing on what its staff believes America most shares: “a love of sports, culture, politics and a passion for this country and its future.”

While so much of the media can be so negative, USA Today seems to have stood above that. I don’t know about you, but when I travel I don’t feel like I’ve gone far, as long as I’m reading USA Today along with whatever devotional reading I’m doing that day. It’s comprehensive but short; it’s straight-shooting but not overly negative.
In just a few pages one can move from international news to a tidbit or two about whatever state you’re from, from major sports to local high schools, and from major economic trends to how one mutual fund performed yesterday, all in color. And, of course, you rarely have to turn the page to get to the end of the story. Famously, only the cover story requires that, and the end is always on page two. More than anything, though, I appreciate its neutrality.
The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and others may disagree, but I affirm USA Today’s role as our nation’s newspaper (or its website, and wish them 25 more years of the same.

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