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Attendees at the celebration of USA Today’s 20th birthday are being promised a presentation by Page One Editor David Colton on “how he chooses stories for the front page.” Yeah, like we really needed any help with that mysterious process. It goes like this: “Yo, photo editor: Got a shot of that jumbo jet that just went down in Pennsylvania? No? Well, how about those Midwesterners swimming in the floodwaters?” It’s precisely that instinct that for two decades has prompted Americans to stop at the waist-high USA Today vending boxes and ante up for a feast of pie charts, gossip, and splashy photos. And somewhere along the way, the paper has managed to take a turn toward serious journalism, minting scoops about the White House and building strong media coverage, for starters. Come see how the folks who bolted Rosslyn for the Dulles Toll Road have married the sensibilities of your local news station—”If it bleeds, it leads”—with the Lehrer NewsHour. The program begins at 10 a.m. at USA
Today Headquarters, 7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean. $125. (202) 357-3030. (Erik Wemple)