Larry Kramer promises ‘huge changes’ at USA Today

A headhunter asked Larry Kramer a few months ago if he was interested in editing USA Today; he said no.

“That was not what I wanted to do at this stage of my life,” the 62-year-old journalist and entrepreneur tells Jon Friedman. “I didn’t think that the transformation could happen at an editor’s spot.”

Larry Kramer

Then he got another phone call.

“I was asked, ‘How would you feel about (running) the whole show?’ I thought, ‘Gee, that’s kind of an interesting idea!'”

Kramer, who was named USA Today president and publisher on Monday, says “I want to make huge changes in a very short time. I want to have some things in place by the time we have our 30th anniversary” on Sept. 15.

“What we need here is what we haven’t had before – a lot of strong voices. Here, it was just the USA Today brand by definition.”

KRAMER ALSO TELLS THE WASHINGTON POST:

* “You have got to have original content in tone or voice, otherwise you’re spinning your wheels. Don’t give me two paragraphs on the Giants game. Tell me what’s wrong with that pitcher’s arm.”

* He plans to have USA Today stress consumer coverage and “maybe entrepreneurialism,” and aims to be “uber strong in entertainment.”

* He wants to help people “sort through what TV shows to watch, what plays to see, what 401(k) plans to invest in. He wants to “help you live your life” but also “tell you things that are important to you that you may not know.”

* “I will lay down on the tracks to protect the investigative reporting here, for all the reasons I got into the business.”

* USA Today’s Larry Kramer: “I love the brand” (Marketwatch.com)
* Kramer jumps back into the fray of digital journalism (Washington Post)
* From 2010: Kramer on how media outlets must change their thinking (AJR)/a>

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