Up to 70 veteran USA Today journalists, editors, and others were laid off Wednesday, and reports claim that the newly unemployed were “marched out by security” and within 15 minutes had their email accounts shut off.
The layoffs came as no surprise after the Gannett Company followed the lead of many other companies that have already separated and spun off their dying publishing business into separate companies. It was only a few weeks ago that Gannett did the same.
USA Today is Gannett’s flagship publication and enjoys the highest circulation of any other American newspaper. Nonetheless, The New York Times reports that “The publishing division has not had year-over-year revenue growth since 2006.”
In the second quarter of this year, it posted a 37.5 percent decline in operating income, to $53.2 million from $85 million, compared with the same quarter a year ago.
Some of the paper’s most senior and best-known writers were laid off, including the pop music critic Edna Gundersen, who announced her departure on Twitter. “Today is my last day at USA Today, after 30 years. I was laid off this morning, along with several great colleagues. Onward,” she wrote.
The film critic Scott Bowles, who worked for USA Today for 17 years before he was let go, said, “I have been amazed by the names and reputations of some of the people on this list; these are bigwigs. Big names.”
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC