USAT moves toward mobile, business interests

USA Today, the nation’s second largest newspaper, has announced its most significant changes since its 1982 debut as it de-emphasizes print and ramps up availability via mobile devices. The move will include the elimination of  about 130 jobs and a breach of the church/state divide between news and business interests.

For starters, the newspaper will no longer have separate managing editors overseeing its News, Sports, Money and Life sections. “The newsroom instead will be broken up into a cluster of  ‘content rings’ each headed up by editors who will be appointed later this year,” the Associated Press says. The paper’s current Life ME will be executive editor of content.

USA Today’s restructuring will “usher in a new way of doing business that aligns sales efforts with the content we produce,” according to a slide show presented to USA Today’s staff, which The AP obtained.

The executive editor of content will have a “collaborative relationship” with USA Today’s newly appointed vice president of business development, according to one slide.

The paper will “focus less on print … and more on producing content for all platforms (Web, mobile, iPad and other digital formats),” the slide show said.

The AP says USA Today’s circulation has fallen from 2.3 million in 2007 to an average of 1.83 million during the six months ending in March. Advertising has fallen by about 50 percent between 2006 and the quarter ending this past June.

Here’s the news release.

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