From: Reuters
Published November 15, 2007 06:19 PM

USA Today to cut 8.8 pct of editorial staff

By Robert MacMillan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gannett Co Inc's <GCI.N> USA Today, the largest U.S. newspaper by circulation, said it will cut 45 positions, or 8.8 percent of the editorial staff, through voluntary buyouts.

"It's unfortunate that we have to take these steps, particularly when our newspaper circulation is growing," Editor Ken Paulson wrote in a memo to employees. "Unfortunately, revenue has not kept pace and we're now facing the same cutbacks that so many other news organizations have already experienced."

"Job eliminations are possible if we don't have enough applicants," he added.

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Staffers with 15 years or more experience and less than five years of online experience will be offered voluntary buyouts, Paulson said in the memo, a copy of which was provided by the company.

USA Today has about 500 editorial staff members, a spokeswoman said.

She declined to comment on what online experience entails, and would not say why that was part of the eligibility requirement.

Many newspaper publishers are augmenting their Internet operations, a part of their business that is growing as more people move online to get the latest and updated news through stories, audio, photographs and video.

Meanwhile, print-side cuts continue as publishers try to stem a drop in profits as their advertising sales fall.

USA Today posted a 6.6 percent drop in third-quarter ad revenue compared with last year, and the number of paid advertising pages fell to 803 from 929.

Parent company Gannett said in October that it would offer buyouts to 110 employees at the Detroit Free Press, as well as the Detroit News, which is owned by MediaNews Group Inc and run under a joint operating agreement.

Hearst Corp said in October that it would lay off 5 percent of the Houston Chronicle's workforce. Tribune Co <TRB.N> earlier this year said it would cut jobs at the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and other papers.

(Editing by Leslie Gevirtz and Carol Bishopric)

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