An Issue of USA Weekend. The top blank bar features a reproduction of the carrying newspaper's masthead.
|Year founded||1953(as Family Weekly)|
|Final issue||December 28, 2014|
|Based in||McLean, Virginia|
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, 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.
The publication was incorporated as Family Weekly, 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.
USA Weekend focused its articles on social issues, entertainment personalities and pop culture, health, food reviews and recipes, and travel. In addition to Parade,USA Weekend also competed alongside some Sunday magazines published for individual newspapers in select U.S. cities such as The New York Times Magazine. The magazine provided Newspaper In Education classroom guides to partner newspapers, for use by teachers to provide educational material for students.
On December 5, 2014, Gannett announced that it would cease publication of USA Weekend with the December 26-28, 2014, edition and lay off 30 advertising and editorial staffers. The shutdown was reportedly due to mounting distribution costs and a 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. USA Weekend lost 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). As well, the supplement's circulation had declined, shrinking from the mid-2000s high of up to 70 million copies distributed through newsstand sales and home-delivery newspaper subscriptions down 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 Weekends writing staff.
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 said the supplement's Weekend Life section provided better content than USA Weekend. The end of USA Weekend' left Parade as the only weekend newspaper magazine published in the United States. Parade, which had only appeared previously in acquired Gannett newspapers to fulfill contracts with previous owners, has now returned to many Gannett newspapers as a replacement for USA Weekend.
Columns and contributors featured in USA Weekend included:
Other notable contributors included:
In 1992, USA Weekends Make a Difference Day created an annual community service event, held on the fourth Saturday of October.
At the 2013 event, the company gave 14 community groups $10,000 to donate to their local charities.