Arguably the most influential person in Florida newspapers, Al Neuharth died this evening in Cocoa Beach, the Atlantic coast city from which he built his Gannett Company, Inc. media empire. Besides USA Today, Gannett also publishes the Tallahassee Democrat, the Ft. Myers News-Press and FSView, the student-run newspaper that — with the conservative Neuharth’s help — ran the former Florida Flambeau out of business because of its critical, often anti-Greek life coverage of Florida State University society and politics.
He made his mark on Florida and national journalism by buying up small local newspapers and incorporating them into large multimedia chain-style operations. Neuharth’s critics pointed to him as the personification of the consolidation and shrinking of today’s press. He also kept viable many regional newspapers that would have otherwise closed their doors. Below is a link to the USA Today article about his passing, appropriately accompanied by a video and a pop-up window.