ST. LOUIS • Richard "Dick" Thien, a veteran journalist who played a pivotal role in developing USA Today for Gannett Co. Inc., has died. He was 73.
Thien died Friday of natural causes at Missouri Baptist Hospital in suburban St. Louis, his son, Mark Thien, said Monday. Thien 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 nation's first national general-interest newspaper that made its debut the following year. USA Today immediately made a splash with its colorful look, frequent use of graphics and shorter, tighter stories, setting a trend followed by many newspapers around the world.