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Can a big bet on tech help USA Today escape its paper past?

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USA Today is taking advantage of Gannett’s custom built CMS system that will let it select and curate content for the growing number of readers who are reading news on mobile devices.

Is there a future for a media brand best known for dropping free newspapers at America’s hotels? The brass at USA Today seems to think so and today launched a “next generation” iPad app to carry the brand into the digital future.

The app represents a big bet on technology by parent company Gannett which, like other newspaper chains, is on borrowed time as it tries to solve the digital dilemma before its traditional print ad earnings collapse once and for all.

The company’s gamble comes in the form of a bespoke content management system that lets editors tailor content specifically for a mobile audience rather than simply slinging content from the USA Today website. In practice, this means shorter and snappier headlines and choosing hard news stories in the morning and then more visual, feature-like fare for later in the day. The move coincides with a mass reader migration to smartphones and tablet devices.

“We’re starting to think of these as products that should be actively programmed rather than taking things that were produced for another medium,” said Gannett’s Chief Digital Officer, David Payne….

[This is a fascinating look at how USA Today is trying to shed its newspaper past ~ Jeff]

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