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USA Today Cuts 90 in Buyout Offers to Staffers Age 55 and Older

Employees of the newspaper with more than 15 years of experience qualify for packages

USA Today will offer buyout packages to about 90 employees who are 55 and older with more than 15 years of experience across all units, its parent company Gannett announced Wednesday.

The company said the buyouts are part of a cost-cutting measure in order to facilitate investment in more digital products. The move is part of a plan to spin off Gannett’s publishing business as a separate company. Ninety of the newspaper’s 600 staffers are eligible for what the company is calling an “Early Retirement Opportunity Program;” USA Today is not sure as of yet how many will accept the buyouts.

“Regardless of the acceptance level of the Early Retirement Opportunity Program, we cannot rule out other actions that we may need to take in the future because of economic and business conditions,” USA Today publisher Larry Kramer wrote in a memo to the staff.

“To remain highly competitive and aggressively keep in front of shifting consumer trends, we need to continue to ensure that our resources are best applied across the organization,” he wrote. “While we’ve accomplished much already to transition the business, more remains to be done and we need to continue to ensure that staffing meets our current needs.”

According to USA Today, offers will be made to staffers across the paper who are at least 55 years old and have worked at Gannett for at least 15 years. The buyouts will include a maximum of one year of pay and health benefits.

The paper’s print edition has been reducing staff in recent years. As TheWrap previously reported, USA Today cut 70 jobs in September, including 35 editorial staff, due in large part to decreasing ad sales. Its focus has instead turned to digital, where circulation increased more than 30 percent in just six months last year.