USA Today announces buyouts

USA Today

This afternoon, USA Today announced it will offer buyouts to 90 staffers across all departments, Roger Yu reports:

The buyouts will be offered to staffers in all departments who are 55 and over and have worked at Gannett for at least 15 years. If they accept, they will receive one and a half to two weeks of pay for each year worked, capped at 52 weeks. They will be eligible to receive health care benefits while they receive payment from the company.

The newspaper, which is owned by Gannett, has roughly 600 employees.

According to Yu, the announcement was made in a memo to staff by publisher Larry Kramer, who wrote that the buyouts were part of a plan to expand USA Today's digital offerings. The buyouts were necessary "to remain highly competitive and aggressively keep in front of shifting consumer trends," Kramer wrote, adding that "we need to continue to ensure that staffing meets our current needs."

As the paper has focused on expanding podcasts, video, and stories for mobile apps and the USA Today website, it has increasingly moved to diminish its workforce, buying out employees in 2013 and laying off roughly 60 employees in September. Gannett, whose fourth-quarter publishing advertising revenue fell 7.8 percent from the previous year, announced in August that it would split its broadcast and publishing functions into separate companies.

In the last 12 months, Gannett's stock has risen 27 percent as investors approved of the company's moves to separate the digital and publishing functions. But more needs to be done, Kramer said in the memo. "We are in a rapidly evolving business where each day brings new challenges," he wrote.


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