‘USA Today’ to Cut 20 Positions

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By: E&P Staff

USA Today will be dropping 20 positions in early December, according to memo from its chiefs, Ken Paulson and John Hillkirk. They are asking for “volunteers” but clearly will do layoffs if need be.

The memo was posted this morning at Romenesko at www.poynter.org.

Here is an excerpt.

The current economic crisis has taken its toll on businesses nationwide, including USA TODAY. This will mean a cut in our 2009 budget, including the elimination of about 20 positions in early December.

We wish this wasn’t necessary, but we’re facing unprecedented economic challenges and we have to cut spending.

We’ll have our regular monthly staff meeting Monday at 5 p.m. EST and will discuss this development and answer any questions you may have, but here are the basics: Those whose jobs are eliminated will receive severance consisting of 1 week of pay for each completed year of service, with a minimum of 2 weeks and a maximum of 26 weeks of severance.

If you’d like to volunteer for severance, please notify Lillian Perez in Human Resources by close of business on Dec. 1, using the attached form. Volunteers will receive the same compensation package. Any staff member may volunteer and will be considered for the severance, but there may be some limits based on overall newsroom needs.

The job eliminations – including those of volunteers – are expected to take place in early December, although under some circumstances, staff members may stay a few more weeks.

This is a difficult close to what has been an extraordinary year for this newsroom, including outstanding coverage of the presidential race, the Olympics and the stunning decline on Wall Street.

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