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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-594-1103. Discretion absolutely guaranteed.