Gannett announced the launch of the paper on April 20, 1982. USA Today began publishing on September 15, 1982, initially in the Baltimore and Washington, D. C. metropolitan areas for an newsstand price of 25¢ (equivalent to 65¢ today). After selling out the first issue, Gannett gradually expanded the national distribution of the paper, reaching an estimated circulation of 362,879 copies by the end of 1982, double the amount of sales that Gannett projected. The design uniquely incorporated color graphics and photographs. Initially, only its front news section pages were rendered in four-color, while the remaining pages were printed in a spot color format. The paper's overall style and elevated use of graphics – developed by Neuharth, in collaboration with staff graphics designers George Rorick, Sam Ward, Suzy Parker, John Sherlock and Web Bryant – was derided by critics, who referred to it as "McPaper" or "television you can wrap fish in," because it opted to incorporate concise nuggets of information more akin to the style of television news, rather than in-depth stories like traditional newspapers, which many in the newspaper industry considered to be a dumbing down of the news. Although USA Today had been profitable for just ten years as of 1997, it changed the appearance and feel of newspapers around the world.
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