USA Today, the four-color newspaper owned by Gannett Co. of Washington, tangled with the Wall Street Journal on Monday over bragging rights to the title of the most widely read newspaper in the country.
USA Today, which bills itself as "the Nation's Newspaper," tried to buy an ad in the Journal and the New York Times proclaiming that based on a recent market research survey, it had more readers than any other American newspaper.
"Simmons says we're No. 1," said the ad, referring to Simmons Market Research Bureau, a company that sells market research data about readership demographics to newspapers. Readership, which estimates how many people read each copy of the newspaper, is different from circulation, which counts how many copies are actually sold.
According to a new Simmons report, the ad said, USA Today now has 4.8 million readers, a gain of 14.3% in the last year. In the meantime, the ad goes on, the Wall Street Journal now has less than 4.1 million readers, a loss in the last year of 16.7%.