USA Today Cuts 35 From Newsroom

Layoffs part of “radical” restructuring plan announced in August

The USA Today cut 35 jobs from its newsroom on Tuesday, part of that "radical" restructuring plan the paper announced in late August.

The cuts were announced in an internal memo obtained by the Associated Press, and apparently include jobs that are currently vacant.

Concurrently, the paper is creating a number of new digital positions. Current employees :can apply for up to two of the newly created job openings by Friday," according to the AP.

On August 27, the paper announced a major restructuring that would result in about 130 layoffs, or about 9 percent of the company’s 1,500 employees.

The USA Today said it was a “reflection” of its “evolution from a newspaper company to a multi-platform media” operation – though the industry’s sinking fortunes have no doubt driven the company to realign. The USA Today has an average daily print circulation of 1.8 million, making it the largest U.S. paper in terms of circulation.

In a presentation to staffers that month, executives said the paper will focus less on print and more “producing content for all platforms.” (Click here to view the presentation.)

"This is pretty radical," president David Hunke said. "This gets us ready for our next quarter century."

Interestingly, it appears that USA Today conducted "outside interviews" with other newspapers — including the Guardian and New York Times — about their organizational structures before finalizing the reorganization plan.

"What we learned," one of the presentation's slides reads. "The first 30 minutes of covering a news story is critical (think Web­first); [t]he best are organized around coverage teams or pods — empowered to move quickly … and they have a very lean structure with an emphasis on content creation."

"We'll focus more on the first half hour of a breaking news story, especially if it's on our core beats," the presentation continued. "So if Tiger Woods crashes his car, we throw everybody we need at the story immediately and we beat ESPN and CNN. And then we'll come back aggressively, on Day 2, and in a week or a month with a deep investigative look, if appropriate."