Daily Archives: September 3, 2014

From the rock music writer:

USA Today is laying off 60 to 70 employees today, I’m told, with about half coming from the newsroom.

A newspaper spokesperson tells Romenesko readers: “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.​​”

One USA Today staffer says she’s received farewell emails so far from ….
– Health and wellness reporter Michelle Healy
– Behavior and relationships reporter Sharon Jayson
– Books reporter Bob Minzesheimer
– Special products copy chief William Coon

I’m told that Travel editor-in-chief Veronica Stoddart and Pop Candy columnist Whitney Matheson were also laid off. Sports pages editor Liza Koon writes on Facebook that after being laid off, “my escort out of the building wouldn’t let me talk to anyone, so hello social media.” Page designer Abby Westcott tweets that she was laid off. “I already have a plan,” she says.

This, too: “Add my name, Craig Bennett, to the list of those RIF’d today. I had spent 32 years with Gannett, 25 of those with USA TODAY Sports, primarily as a copy editor. I was informed by phone.”

From Korina Lopez: “I was also informed by phone. Took all of five minutes to disassemble 11 years of work. Nights, weekends, holidays, ungodly hours, missed key moments in my daughter’s early childhood… And with the explanation that it was a business decision and that I did nothing wrong. None of us saw this coming. Not even a suggestion. Quite the bombshell.”

Any more names and layoff stories to share? Email me at

Update: This list of laid-off staffers was sent to me:

Ronnie Stoddard
Glenn O’Neal
Korina Lopez
Chris Cubbison
Jim Henderson
Dennis Kelly
Lisa Hitt
Tara Murray
Raju Chebium
Bob Minzesheimer
Sharon Jayson
Scott Bowles
Deborah Barrington
William Coon
Scott Zucker
Paul Barton
Michelle Healy
Sam Ward
Tom Frazier
Robin Webb

Update 2: USA Today has posted its story about the layoffs. The paper calls the downsizing “a cost-cutting move that comes in response to declining national advertising sales.”


Where are the laugh-out-loud lines in Huffington Psst? If Arianna Huffington is willing to comment on it – and hire the team behind Psst – this parody isn’t snarky enough. Here’s what the Huffington Post founder says about HuffPsst:

The fact that the team at the Harvard Lampoon chose to spend its summer vacation exploring the deepest intricacies of The Huffington Post universe instead of backpacking across Europe speaks volumes about the state of higher education in America. For us, the big benefit is knowing who to call to keep things running in the event everyone at HuffPost decides to spend next summer backpacking across Europe.

* Harvard kids “lampoon” Arianna Huffington (

From the 1944 book, “The Disappearing Daily.”

On Tuesday, I posted a Chicago Daily News headline asking – in 1978 – if print journalism was an endangered species. After seeing that, retired Minneapolis Star Tribune copy editor Bruce Adomeit sent a link to the 1944 book, “The Disappearing Daily,” by Oswald Garrison Villard. You can read it here.

What the press critic wrote about other news outlets in 1944:
The Associated Press: “One of its besetting sins is that it has always bowed down before authority and rarely ever stood up to the government in any controversy until its decision to fight the government’s suit against it. It is the first to take orders from Washington, for it desires above all else to stand well with every administration, if only to make sure it gets the news.” (page 42)

New York Times: “In America no other journal approaches it in the volume of news and coverage of the world. No important journalist can possibly do without it, and it has literally made itself indispensable to anyone who desires to be thoroughly informed as to what is happening on this globe. To miss even an issue is a detriment to all who deal with foreign affairs.” (page 78)

New York Daily News: “The Daily News is less vulgar than formerly and it is fortunate in not having to resort to some of the devices which keep many publications, notably in the magazine field, afloat. Its cheap paper and black headlines give it a worse and cheaper aspect than it really deserves.” (page 104)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Any honor roll of American journalism must place the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at the head of the distinguished, politically independent, and outstandingly honest American newspapers.” (page 119)

Chicago Tribune: “The Tribune has risen to great financial success and maintained it despite depressions, wars, and periods of great unpopularity. …In its local news it is as biased and inaccurate as many of our metropolitan dailies, and it has never hesitated to reveal malice in its reports of the doings and utterances of those whom it does not like.” (page 128)

Gannett newspapers: “Mr. [Frank E.] Gannett has had the wisdom not to make [his newspapers] all look alike in make-up and typography as is the case with the Hearst and other chains; he has preserved their individuality, and has not overloaded them with star contributors and correspondents.” (page 158)

* “The Disappearing Daily: Chapters in American Newspaper Evolution”

This “Weeds” fan is enjoying the new Reddit AMA iPhone app for Q-and-As like this:


* Announcing the official Reddit AMA app (
* “My name is Andy Milder. I’m an actor. I was on Weeds” (

In a letter sent Wednesday morning, the New York Press Club asks Mayor Bill de Blasio: “What gives you the right to set the agenda for what journalists can ask you about? Is that in keeping with the fundamental right of freedom of the press?”

Honorable Bill de Blasio
Mayor, City of New York
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mr. Mayor:

Eight months have passed since you took office as New York City’s 109th mayor.

This organization, which since 1948 has represented this city’s journalists, is deeply disturbed by a pattern that has emerged in the way you deal with reporters seeking information in the interest of the people of New York.

You list a daily schedule for yourself in which some events are designated as “open press” and others are described as “closed press.” You list still other events with a condition, “no q. and a.” Another condition that you set sometimes is taking questions only on a particular topic. When reporters try to get answers on other matters deemed vital to their readers, viewers or listeners, you admonish them: “On topic!” and refuse to take questions on a subject not set by you. That anti-press gimmick was invented by Michael Bloomberg./CONTINUES Read More


* Phil Robertson on ISIS: Convert them or kill them! (

– via (@swin24)

* I’m told…. “Widespread layoffs have begun at USA Today. More than 50. More than half [of those 50] in newsroom.” I hear an announcement will be made this afternoon.
* Joe Vardon, who has been covering Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the Columbus Dispatch,lebron has been named Northeast Ohio Media Group’s LeBron James beat reporter. ( | “Excited for what’s next,” Vardon tweets. (@joevardon) | Earlier: Anyone want to cover LeBron James? (
* Fred Ryan, Washington Post’s new publisher, hardly resembles the guy who hired him. “[Jeff] Bezos is a entrepreneur, a classic tech disrupter; Ryan is a California lawyer who became the quintessential Washington insider.” (
* Boston Globe’s Crux launches – a site “not just about the [Catholic] Church, but about life and faith. ( | (Globe release)
* Comcast expands its EveryBlock relaunch. (
* Playboy quietly stops publishing to its Kinja account. (
* WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio, lets news anchor Kurt Ludlow go – then promises to sue if he works in the same market. (
* Glenn Garvin: Chevron Corp. v. Donziger “has exposed some very unsettling secrets about the way the journalistic sausage is made.” (
* New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan to give the commencement address at CUNY’s j-school in December. (
* Penn State’s Daily Collegian: No ice bucket challenges for us – and no ALS donations. (
* Critic: Fall’s best new TV show is “Transparent,” an Amazon Prime Video offering. (
* The 1888 way of pitching magazine editors. (