USA TODAY To Launch E-Edition & Weekend Paper Next Week

usa today logo.pngLast month, USA TODAY publisher David Hunke told us to expect a e-Edition of the paper on August 3. Today, the paper officially announced the launch of a new digital version of the nation’s top-selling newspaper, along with their first-ever weekend paper.

The new Saturday-Sunday edition will be called USA TODAY EXTRA and will be available only to subscribers of the paper’s digital or print versions.

USA TODAY is perfectly modeled to suit all the new and emerging technologies we are seeing in the marketplace,” Hunke said in a release. “We’re very pleased to be able to bring the e-Edition to our readers and we will continue to look for new platforms to grow on.”

The e-Edition will be offered through two introductory subscription prices. Subscribers can either purchase a $99, 52-week digital subscription or pay $9.95 an eight-week trial subscription with the option to renew for $9.95 every four weeks.

The news comes one day after a New York Times article about USA TODAY‘s publisher Gannett Co.’s payments to laid off employees. Earlier this month, Gannett cut about 1,400 jobs from its U.S. Community Publishing division, which includes 80+ daily newspapers.

According to the Times’ article, Gannett is not paying traditional severance to its employees but instead offering to pay the difference between state-funded unemployment checks and employees’ Gannett paychecks. Former employees will be eligible to receive their payments from the company for a length of time corresponding to the time worked at the company — three years or less receive three weeks; four through 25 years receive the number of weeks corresponding to the number of years worked; and 26 years or more of service will net former employees 36 weeks of the payment benefit.

However, employees who do not qualify for state unemployment will not receive Gannett checks, diminishing the incentive to look for new jobs.

Gannett says it’s a cost-cutting measure, so we’ll see if any other companies begin to follow suit over the next few months. If you qualify for the payments from Gannett, it’s actually a better deal, since severance is subject to Medicare and Social Security taxes and state unemployment payments are not. Also, the payments are made weekly, as opposed to one bulk sum severance check, which could also cut the amount of taxes taken out.

If you’re one of the Gannett staffers going through this, we’d love to hear your story. Leave a comment below or send us an email.