The perennially derided USA Today, with much of its circulation distributed free to people at hotels or in other places where they are traveling, used to be a contender in travel news. And if you wrote about travel, and especially airlines or hotels, you needed to pay attention to what USA Today was up to.
What the heck happened?
Any look at the USA Today travel coverage these days is baffling, and I'm truly sympathetic toward the excellent USA Today travel reporters who used to cover news and solid features. But look at today's typical USA Today travel offering online. It's nearly all lame-brained "rankings," that is, lists of things that somebody somewhere has decided to rank, based on some criteria unknown. Here's what you get today: "Nine Ways to Lose Weight on Vacation" ... "Best Hotel Bathrooms in Las Vegas" ... "Coziest Hotel Fireplaces Across USA..." Et cetera.
That sort of "news" is driven by marketing people alone, and it's ginned up to generate online clicks, not to inform readers in any cogent way. My opinion: Within a year, USA Today will finally admit that the game has finally ended, and will drop its anemic print edition that now basically litters hotel corridors, and go entirely online. And that's just sad.