Allen Neuharth, a former Gannett executive who founded USA Today almost 30 years ago, wrote to the current paper’s publisher David Hunke to say that his decision to sell an advertisement to Jeep that covered the entire frontpage in July was a an all-time lowpoint in USA Today history. The New York Times published Mr. Neuharth’s email to Mr. Hunke this morning.
“I’ve never received as many sad comments from past or present USA TODAY or Gannett people as I have this one,” Mr. Neuharth wrote. “If I had been Editor John Hillkirk (who is not among those I’ve heard from) I would have led the entire news staff walking out in protest. If such a stupid decision is ever made again, I hope that will be the result.”
Some of the USA Today staff may soon be walking out, whether they like it or not. On Friday, Mr. Hunke announced that he would be cutting 9 percent of the paper’s staff and retrenching as a “multi-platform media company” with “content rings” (this sounds more and more like something that comes with a drink after the weekend).