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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

USA TODAY: BIOHAZARD SYMBOL FOR ITS LOGO - A SIGN, OR JUST POOR TASTE?

USA TODAY:  RUNS ONLINE EDITION WITH BIOHAZARD SIGN
POOR TASTE OR POOR JUDGEMENT?



We have contacted USA Today with the following message following a full run of their on-line edition featuring a "BioHazard" symbol instead of its usual "USA Today" logo.  USA Today is part of Gannett Publications, and has been contacted several times by Flash News Network regarding this issue:

"As a medical professional, I am highly disappointed in the manner in which you displayed the "universal biohazard" symbol in place of the regular USA Today logo on 9/23/14.  That symbol, is not to be used as an "attention grabber" for a headline that your publication wishes to seek readership on.  There is a reason for that symbol, and it would have been better suited that you prepared a headline suitable for the article on the pathogens that went missing in several locations vs. using the biohazard symbol to get readers to click and explore.  What that did, unfortunately, was roused panic among many which we represent.  In fact, so much so, that there is enough of a concern that many now feel Ganett and USA Today are among those sending out signals to organizations seeking harm to the United States.  I can not help but wonder what on earth USA Today was thinking by utilizing that symbol during what is questionably a very uncertain time in the United States with Enterovirus D68 running rampant as well as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  I certainly hope you consider what symbols and logos you utilize in the future, but for now, I would expect a full response as to why you specifically chose that particular symbol, during this particular time-frame.  Nothing short of a full explanation will suffice;  you owe millions of readers that answer.  Having said all of this, your use of the BioHazard symbol was in poor taste, and certainly, now draws a certain level of concern towards your publication and the owners of the USA Today / Gannett family of publications."

As of 11PM EDT, we have not received a response from Gannett or USA Today, but look forward to seeing their response.