USA Weekend

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USA Weekend
An Issue of USA Weekend. The top blank bar features a reproduction of the carrying newspaper's masthead.
Categories Sunday magazine
Frequency Weekly
Year founded 1953 (1953) (as Family Weekly)
First issue 1953; 63 years ago (1953)[specify]
Final issue December 28, 2014 (2014-12-28)
Company Gannett Company
Country United States
Based in McLean, Virginia
Language English

USA Weekend is a defunct American weekend newspaper magazine that was owned by the Gannett Company. Structured as a sister publication to Gannett's flagship newspaper USA Today and distributed in the Sunday editions of participating local newspapers,[1] it was the second largest national magazine supplement in the United States (behind Parade), and was distributed to more than 800 newspapers nationwide at its peak.[2]


The publication was incorporated as Family Weekly,[2] a supplement started in 1953. By the mid-1980s, the magazine was carried in 362 newspapers nationwide; with a total circulation of 12.8 million copies by that time, it had become the third-largest weekly magazine in the U.S., ranking behind its main competitor Parade (then owned by Advance Publications, which owned that publication from 1976 until Advance sold it to Athlon Media Group in 2014) and TV Guide. The Gannett Company purchased the supplement from CBS, Inc. on February 21, 1985. When the sale was finalized later that spring, the publication adopted the USA Weekend name (despite predating its purchase by the company by 33 years, 1985 was designated by Gannett as the date of its founding for promotional purposes and anniversary observances). Most of the newspapers that Gannett owned carried USA Weekend within their Sunday editions as their default magazine supplement.[3]

USA Weekend focused its articles on social issues, entertainment personalities and pop culture, health, food reviews and recipes, and travel.[1] In addition to Parade,[2][4][5] USA Weekend also competed alongside some Sunday magazines published for individual newspapers in select U.S. cities such as The New York Times Magazine.[5] The magazine provided Newspaper In Education classroom guides to partner newspapers, for use by teachers to provide educational material for students.[6]


On December 5, 2014, Gannett announced that it would cease publication of USA Weekend with the December 26–28, 2014 edition of the supplement, resulting in the layoffs of 30 advertising and editorial staff members.[7][8] The cause of the shutdown was reportedly due to mounting distribution costs and a significant decline in advertising revenue (revenue for Sunday magazines through advertising buys had decreased by 10.9% year-over-year between the first two quarters of 2013 and the first half of 2014, with USA Weeekend in particular losing up to $10 million in operating costs during the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years), which in previous years had resulted in the shift from the carrier newspapers paying a licensing fee to Gannett to publishers of these papers receiving a fee from the company for distributing USA Weekend (a structure that had also affected other syndicated Sunday magazines). In addition, the supplement had seen a major decline in circulation in recent years, going from up to 70 million copies distributed through newsstand sales and home-delivery newspaper subscriptions in the mid-2000s to around 18 million in 2014. For its final years of publication, the magazine had relied on writers and columnists from USA Today to help provide feature content for the magazine, after Gannett laid off several members of USA Weekend's writing staff.[2][7]

The decision to cease publication of the supplement came one year after Gannett began distributing a seven-day-a-week supplement featuring condensed content from USA Today for syndication to the company's own local newspapers as well as partner newspapers owned by other publishers, with company executives citing that the supplement's Weekend Life section provided content superior in scope to that of USA Weekend.[2][5][9][10] As a result of the discontinuance of USA Weekend, Parade became the only weekend newspaper magazine that continues to be published in the United States.


Columns and contributors featured in USA Weekend included:

  • CookSmart – a recipe column written by Ellie Krieger
  • EatSmart – a food column by Jean Carper, focusing on healthy recipes and tips
  • HealthSmart – a health information column written by the hosts of the The Doctors
  • MoneySmart – a financial advice column written by Sharon Epperson and Walecia Konrad
  • Who's News – a column focusing on newsmakers of the past week, written by Lorrie Lynch
  • Wit&Wisdom – a feature focusing on humor and insight, written by Terry Stickels

Other notable contributors included:

Make A Difference Day[edit]

USA Weekend's Make A Difference Day is an annual community service event that was created by the magazine in 1992, and is held on the fourth Saturday of October. At the 2013 event, 14 community groups were awarded $10,000 to donate to their local charities.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Gannett folds USA Weekend Magazine". Portada. December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "USA Weekend calls it quits". Davis Enterprise. December 28, 2014. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Gannett Gets Family Weekly". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. February 22, 1985. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  4. ^ David Brauer (August 19, 2009). "Star Tribune plans to dump USA Weekend, pick up Parade". MinnPost. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Stuart Elliott (December 11, 2014). "Consolidation Coming in Sunday Magazines". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  6. ^ "USA WEEKEND's Newspaper in Education Program". USA Weekend. Gannett Company. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Jordan Chariton (December 5, 2014). "USA Today Shuttering USA Weekend Magazine". The Wrap. The Wrap Media, LLC. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  8. ^ Jim Lenahan (December 24, 2014). "Last words: USA WEEKEND says goodbye and thanks". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  9. ^ Alan D. Mutter (December 5, 2014). "USA Weekend shuts as costs spike and ads tumble". Newsosaur. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  10. ^ Emma Bazilian (December 5, 2014). "USA Today Shutters Weekend Magazine - USA Weekend was the country's second-largest news mag". Adweek. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  11. ^ McKenna Grant (April 26, 2013). "Grassroots volunteers receive national awards in Washington, D.C.". USA Weekend. Gannett Company. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 

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