ST. LOUIS (AP) — Richard "Dick" Thien, a veteran journalist who played a pivotal role in developing USA Today for Gannett Co. Inc., has died.
Mark Thien says his father died Friday of natural causes at Missouri Baptist Hospital in suburban St. Louis. Dick Thien was 73 and was a two-time cancer survivor.
In 1981, Gannett's CEO, Al Neuharth, chose Thien to be one of five prototype editors for USA Today, the first national general-interest newspaper that made its debut the following year. USA Today immediately made a splash with its colorful look, use of graphics and shorter, tighter stories, setting a trend followed by many newspapers around the world.
Thien is survived by his wife of 50 years, Elaine, three children and three grandchildren.