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Leak shows Gannett stockpiling thousands of iPhones, iPads for journalists

A leaked memo from USA Today parent company Gannett Co. has revealed that the company recently purchased thousands of iPhone 4S and iPad devices in order to aid its journalists in real-time reporting, video storytelling and social media participation.

Gannett Blog, which is not affiliated with the company, published a memo on Wednesday, allegedly from Gannett's U.S. newspapers division president Bob Dickey, detailing the publisher's new technology strategy.

According to the memo, the company "purchased thousands of new devices," including the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and netbooks, for its journalists this week. A range of accessories, such as microphones, MiFi wireless internet hotspots and cables, have also been bought to outfit the devices for news-gathering purposes. The equipment is scheduled to arrive at newsrooms around the U.S. in January 2012.

"These new tools will help our journalists meet the demands of the new news cycle, one that requires agility in real-time reporting, social media and greater emphasis on video storytelling, further increasing our competitive advantage," the memo read.

Some of the devices will be used to create digital workstations at each of Gannett's local Information Centers "to monitor the content experience we provide across digital channels — tablets and smart phones, in particular."

Journalists will also reportedly receive training in early 2012 on how to use the devices in order to maximize the impact of the initiative and enable them to do new things that Dickey "can’t even imagine yet."

Gannett COO Gracia Martore said early this year that the iPad has been a "real positive" for USA Today, though she was referring to the success of the company's iPad app in dispersing the news, rather than the tablet's ability to help create it.

USA Today underwent its most dramatic overhaul ever last year as part of a shift toward bringing content to the iPad. Faced with declining circulation, the paper cut 130 staff as it turned away from print to focus more on digital formats. With thousands of iOS devices set to arrive early next year, Gannett has upped the ante in its bid to evolve alongside technology.