USA Today lays off 60 to 70 staffers, with about half coming from the newsroom

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 ….
usat
– 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 jim@jimromenesko.com.

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.”


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