USA Today Slashing Payroll; Buyouts Offered

Sad news from Gannett-land.

USA Today is cutting 45 newsroom jobs and offering “voluntary” buyouts for employees with 15 years experience or less than five years of online experience. Read: They want to stop paying the salaries of some of the well-compensated vets.

After the jump, the official memo from head honcho Ken Paulson


To: The Newsroom Staff
From: Ken Paulson

We had a full auditorium at today’s staff meeting, but I wanted to follow up with a brief note for those who were unable to join us in person or by phone.

At today’s meeting, we discussed the economic realties that will require elimination of 45 newsroom positions.

It’s unfortunate that we have to take these steps, particularly when our newspaper circulation is growing and USATODAY.com has been named the top news website in the country by the Online News Association. Unfortunately, revenue has not kept pace and we’re now facing the same cutbacks that so many other news organizations have already experienced.

The job eliminations will be done on a voluntary basis in the form of buyouts for staffers with 15 years or more of Gannett experience and less than five years of online experience. Departments will exclude certain key positions based on strategic needs in 2008. We hope to achieve all job reductions through voluntary buyouts, but job eliminations are possible if we don’t have enough applicants.

We’ll meet with every department today to provide details on eligibility for the buyouts and answer any questions you may have.