USA Today Founder Al Neuharth Dead at 89 His focus on short stories, graphics changed newspaper industry By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Apr 19, 2013 6:42 PM CDT 2 comments Comments Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today, poses at his home in Cocoa Beach, Fla., in 1999. (AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove, File) (Newser) – USA Today founder Al Neuharth has died in Cocoa Beach, Florida, at age 89. The news was announced today by USA Today and by the Newseum, which he also founded. Neuharth changed American newspapers by putting easy-to-read articles and bright graphics in his national daily publication, which he began in 1982 when he ran the Gannett newspaper group. He wanted to create a bright, breezy, fun newspaper that would catch people's attention and not take itself too seriously. During Neuharth's more than 15 years at the helm of Gannett, the company became the nation's largest newspaper company. Its annual revenues increased from $200 million to more than $3 billion. He became president and CEO of the company in 1973 and chairman in 1979. He retired in 1989.