USA Today lays off between 60 and 70 staffers

USA Today laid off between 60 and 70 staffers Wednesday, with about half those cuts hitting its newsroom, a company source tells Poynter.

Gannett, which owns USA Today, announced in August it plans to spin off its publishing business. At about the same time, some of Gannett’s local papers announced changes to their newsrooms. Tennessean Executive Editor Stefanie Murray told Poynter the plan was to have “self-sufficient reporters producing publication-ready copy.”

Gannett spokesperson Jeremy Gaines told Washington Business Journal reporter Drew Hansen that “USA TODAY is working to align its staffing levels to meet current market conditions. The actions taken today will allow USA TODAY to reinvest in the business to ensure the continued success of its digital transformation.”

Some people have sent emails to staffers saying they’re gone, including book reviewer and reporter Bob Minzesheimer, health and wellness reporter Michelle Healy and online producer John Elliot. Pop music critic Edna Gundersen tweeted that she was leaving. Abby Westcott tweeted that she’s leaving, too. William Coon confirms in an email to Poynter that he’s left. Film critic Scott Bowles sent an email to staff saying he’s left. Music reporter Korina Lopez tweeted she got laid off. So did Sharon Jayson, who reported on behavior and relationships. Pop culture writer Whitney Matheson confirms in an email to Poynter she got laid off.

I’m working on confirming some other names I’ve heard — I have a list of about 20 names so far. I prefer to report on names when people have shared the news publicly in some way or have contacted me. Email abeaujon@poynter.org or call 703-594-1103. Discretion absolutely guaranteed.

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  • Okasis

    I am amazed the US Commercial Media bothers to hire any people at all. Ninety-nine percent of the so-called ‘reporting’ consists of business news written by Corporate Hacks and distributed to the Media, or Propaganda composed by Government Employees, whether Federal, State, or Local. It is as trustworthy as anything published in the 3rd Reich, and like that Propaganda, it is slavishly reprinted by the multitude of foreign Media hoping to win a Media Distribution Contract with the UN, EU, or NATO.

    When the Japanese fine-tune the Robot Industry so that they can replace humans with replica dummies, the take-over will be complete. When one thinks about it, this theory explains so many things. The high unemployment and yet continuing over-production of things no one needs, but is programmed to replace with ‘Newer, Better, and Bigger’ on an annual basis. It explains Climate Change, and why no one seems to be concerned about it in the Commercial Media. Since 99% of humanity is already obsolete, all they need is the Bio-metric ID Code for the 1 Percenters Biosphere Bunker. That is much more secure then the passwords the rest of us are forced to create almost daily just to access our e-mail – which was hacked yesterday, by an ‘Unknown Organization. That also explains why no one who could, is bothering to repair and replace worn-out, obsolete infrastructure.

    It even explains why the 99% relies on Facebook, Anonymous Blogs, Twitter, and the Independent Media [if they can access it], for information. If the NY Times, NPR, BBC and MSNBC all feed us the same pre-approved War Mongering Sh*t, why bother to read or watch it at all?

  • Outrider

    To fully appreciate Gannett’s commitment to quality, there’s no need to look any further than the recent news release in which it called itself Gannet. (What’s wrong with those copy editors in Mumbai USA, anyway?)

  • David Stafford Cripps

    A travesty. Gannett loyalty is solely to its bottom line. Bottom being the operative word. Firing Edna Gundersen is especially heinous. She was with USA Today for 30 years. A superlative journalist. After doing this to so many loyal staffers the pea per should be renamed USA Turd-ay…

  • pjbnyc

    I like the Medill School ad in the middle of the copy. Puts it all in perspective!…
    I worked at USA Today at the beginning, when the copy desk was ordered to change all references to “U.S.” into “USA,” resulting in the paper referring to USA Steel and the USA Capitol Building.

  • Philip Buzter

    What about the Offended Persons Editor? Did he make the cut?

  • JTFloore

    if it is a good idea to rely solely on “reporters producing publication-ready copy,” don’t you suppose it would have been a standard industry practice long, long, long ago?

  • snopes

    I know, don’t tell me. They’re getting leaner and meaner–and richer.