Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: USA TODAY or USA Today 

ISSN: 0734-7456 (Print).1


Purpose, objective, or mission: “USA TODAY’s mission is to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation.”2

Target audience: Those residing in the US or anyone interested in US News. 

Publisher: Gannett Co., Inc.3

Peer reviewed? No.

Type: Civilian publication. 

Medium: Print and online. 

Content: USA TODAY covers national and worldwide news as well as sports, entertainment, life, money, and tech.4 USA TODAY also has affiliates that provide local news such as AZCentral and The Coloradoan.5

Frequency of publication: Daily.

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines:

Types of contributions accepted: Types of submissions accepted are columns and letters to the editor. 

Submission and review process: Columns are essays, analyses, or arguments on a variety of topics. USA TODAY is specifically looking for columns that have or exhibit one of the following: “. . . timeliness (pegged to news), persuasion pitched to the other side, new information, novel arguments, revelatory insights, passion without partisanship, first-person experience, original reporting that reveals fresh angles and makes news, expert knowledge, and/or a topic that will drive conversation on social media and in the real world.”6 Submissions for columns should be 550 to 750 words and sent to theforum [at] Headlines and footnotes are not accepted, instead, authors should include URLs to back up quotes or statements made. In conjunction, a short biography (two sentences max) should be included in your submission to be run at the end of the column. If there is any conflict of interest on the author’s side, it should be fully disclosed within the email. Most importantly, “we only accept pieces that are submitted exclusively to USA TODAY. We do not accept material that has been published on blogs, social media or anywhere else.”7

Letters of 200 words or less can be sent to letters [at] Include the author’s name, address and phone number with the submission. USA Today may edit the submission for accuracy, clarity or length.8

Editorial tone: The USA TODAY Communications Guidelines directs authors to be “clear, factual and get to the point” and to “avoid flowery language and insider jargon.”9

Style guide used: While a style guide could not be located, USA TODAY’s Brand Guide might be useful for potential authors to review. 

Conclusion: Evaluation of the publication’s potential for LIS authors

As a national publication with worldwide readership, authors who get published in USA TODAY would reach a large audience. Publication in USA TODAY would also look excellent on a resume or CV. 

Additionally, publishing in USA TODAY could help authors introduce readers to LIS issues and topics, thereby bringing more exposure to the LIS field. Examples of published articles in USA TODAY related to the LIS field are, “Libraries are needed more than ever. But many aren’t sure how to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic,” “Reader: Librarians aren’t going anywhere,” and “Banned Books Week: Is your favorite one of the decade’s most censored?”. 

Due to the somewhat extensive submission guidelines, authors may be wary of submitting pieces to USA TODAY. If that is the case, consider checking out these guidelines from the public relations company Cision for tips on pitching a piece to USA TODAY.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: Daily paid print circulation averages at 1,424,407 and total print circulation is estimated to be 2,862,229.10 Additionally, “USA TODAY and USATODAY.COM reach a combined seven million readers daily.”11

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: Although the content in  USA TODAY is primarily focused on news and issues within the US, the publication does cover World and International News which would also appeal to readers outside of the US. USA TODAY also provides an international issue, aimed at “Americans abroad [or] anyone interested in news, investments, sports, and entertainment from the USA.”12 Therefore, authors should assume the majority of the readership resides within the US, but should also take into consideration that readers may be US citizens residing outside of the US, or may be individuals from other countries who are interested in US news. 

Reader characteristics: “USA TODAY  readers are mission-oriented productive people who are trying to advance their lives every day in a time of change and difficulty.”13

In conjunction, “The USA TODAY audience is comprised of everyday Americans and business travelers who are:

  • Busy, on-the-go and connected
  • Responsible, smart and practical
  • Annoyed by biased and noisy argumentation in news
  • Visual learners who like their news ‘straight up’ and are highly suspicious of fluff
  • Driven, social and independent
  • Self-reliant, hardworking and resourceful
  • Quick to see between the lines and spot the agenda behind ‘news’.”14

In regard to reader demographics, a 2018 report compiled by the advertising agency Russell Johns Associates examined both the print and online version of the publication. For the print version, the publication found that 66.8% of the readers are male, the majority of the readers are between the ages of 25-54 (56%), and 66.2% of readers are employed. 63% of readers of the print publication also have a household income of at least $75,000, and 64.4% have at least some college education.15

For the online version, the report by Russell Johns Associates indicates that 58.8% of readers are male, the majority of readers are between ages 25-54 (54.3%), and 66.6% of readers are employed. 61.7% of the readers of the online publication have a household income of at least $75,000, and 65.2% have at least some college education.16

Readers’ knowledge of LIS subject matter: Authors should err on the side of caution and assume that most readers of USA TODAY are not familiar with LIS issues, topics, or jargon. 

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

Authors will benefit from submitting pieces that will appeal to national readers, if not worldwide readers. Readers will be from diverse backgrounds with varying interests, some of which will have an interest in LIS issues and topics. USA TODAY provides authors with an excellent opportunity to introduce a large audience to LIS issues and topics. 

Last updated: October 18, 2020 


Show 16 footnotes

  1. “USA Today”, Urlichsweb Global Serials Directory, accessed October 6, 2020,
  2. “About USA TODAY,”, accessed October 6, 2020,’s,digital%2C%20social%20and%20video%20platforms.
  3. About USA TODAY.
  4. “USA TODAY,”, accessed October 18, 2020,
  5. “Brands”,, accessed October 18, 2020,
  6. “How to submit content,”, accessed October 6, 2020,
  7. How to submit content.
  8. How to submit content.”
  9. ”USA Today Corporate Brand Guidelines,”, accessed October 6, 2020,
  10. About USA TODAY.”
  11. About USA TODAY.”
  12. “USA TODAY International Edition,, accessed October 17, 2020,
  13. ”USA Today Corporate Brand Guidelines,”, accessed October 6, 2020,
  14. USA Today Corporate Brand Guidelines.”
  15. “USA TODAY NETWORK TOPLINE METRICS REPORT,”, accessed October 12, 2020,
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