Starting in January, the print edition of The Tennessean will get a little bigger. The paper is inserting about a dozen pages from USA Today. Both publications are owned by media giant Gannett.
USA Today articles are already scattered throughout The Tennessean. But by giving its own section, Gannett says it will free up space for more local news and features. The company started testing the idea in October, in four cities. Robert Dickey leads Gannett’s community publishing division. Speaking to investors this week, he touted the company’s own survey of reader satisfaction with the change.
“Nearly 70 percent of the respondents scored local coverage as excellent or very good, and 60 percent cited the addition of USA Today content as a clear improvement in quality,” Dickey said.
Gannett is rolling out the model to all of its large papers, including The Tennessean and Louisville’s Courier-Journal. The company hasn’t said if it will raise the price of papers with the added content.
Gannett’s ad revenue has been on a downward spiral. The New York Times reports the move will boost USA Today’s circulation, which means it can charge more to advertisers.
Gannett has cut more than 200 jobs at its newspapers over the last year, including more than a dozen at The Tennessean. The company is also spending $1.5 billion to buy rival media conglomerate, Belo Corporation. The deal doubles the number of TV stations owned by Gannett. The company’s CEO says it will eventually generate more revenue from television than from newspapers.