Impact of ‘USA Today’ Changes on Media Plans

Recently, USA Today announced big changes – a massive round of layoffs (130 staff members) and a bigger focus on digital including content for the iPad.

USA Today has always been a top target for media relations outreach because of its large nationwide audience and the wide range of topics covered in its pages. But as the world has gone digital and audiences fragment, the newspaper has seen its circulation numbers drop.

PRNewser asked a couple of PR pros for their thoughts on the planned changes. More after the jump.John Cangney, head of APCO Worldwide’s social media practice, thinks the newspaper will remain influential. And the new digital focus could give media relations pros more insight about what the publication’s reporters are looking for as they operate on different platforms.

“The ability to learn what they have to say on a lot of issues would be cool,” said Cagney. “It’s still important, still a major publication for daily news. Ultimately, it doesn’t change the way people view USA Today. I think it depends whether the transition is successful.”

Stacie Paxton, a VP with Hill & Knowlton, believes the publication “had no choice but to change its business model.” But she also believes that working out the details will be crucial.

“Right now, there’s a shift and there’s going to be some unknown … as people see how this pans out,” she said. “This could be a new opportunity to push a new game. It’s inevitable that people will look at it differently and decide whether it’s working.”

What sort of impact, if any, do you think the change to digital will have on USA Today? The comment section is open.