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USA Today Announces Restructuring

Gannett's USA Today announced plans for a major organizational restructuring yesterday in an effort to focus on digital content.



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USA Today

announced plans for a major organizational restructuring yesterday that will result in around 130 layoffs this fall.

The nation's second largest newspaper plans to create five new departments through an overhaul of its circulation, finance and news divisions.

"This significant restructuring reflects USA Today's evolution from a newspaper company to a multi-platform media company," said David L. Hunke, president of the publication. "When USA Today first launched in 1982, we led the news and information industry in aligning our content with readers and advertisers. I'm confident these key executive appointments in new and current departments will continue our legacy as a vital, valuable media brand across print, digital and mobile platforms."

Newspaper Outlook: Go Digital or Die

So far, several new management positions have been announced within the new departments. The overhaul was triggered by several factors, including the continued movement of consumers from print to the web. The drop-off in circulation and advertising revenue has taken a toll on the newspaper industry, and has forced most newspapers, including USA Today, to cut back.

USA Today makes most of its money from its print division. However, according to a slide show presentation given to USA Today's staff, the publication plans to focus less on print media and more on "producing content for all platforms," such as the Internet, mobile applications and other digital formats.

In December, 2007 the company acquired the sports website Rudd Davis, the president founder of BNQT, will join USA Today as the vice president of business development to oversee new business opportunities and partnerships including brand licensing, content syndication, acquisitions and joint ventures.

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Among several new executive hires, Jeff Dionise was named the vice president of product development and design, and Steve Kurtz was appointed the vice president of digital development. The company hopes to build its presence on new and existing online, mobile, iPhone and iPad platforms.

"We have to go where the audience is," editor John Hillkirk told the Associated Press. "If people are hitting the iPad like crazy, or the iPhone or other mobile devices, we've got to be there with the content they want, when they want it."

Gannett's stock price is down 18% in the past year. Shares are up more than 1% today to around $12.30.

-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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