USA Today reassigns top editor, business executive

AP News
Posted: Nov 30, 2011 7:33 PM
USA Today reassigns top editor, business executive

USA Today said Wednesday that it is moving two of its top executives to new jobs.

John Hillkirk, the top editor of the second-largest U.S. newspaper, is stepping down to help oversee USA Today's investigative reporting projects as a senior editor.

USA Today, which is owned by Gannett Co., is looking for his replacement. In the interim, Susan Weiss, USA Today's executive editor, will run the newsroom.

In another transfer announced Wednesday, Rudd Davis is moving from vice president of business development to the newly created position of president of USA Today's travel media group.

The division will try to help USA Today reach more readers while they're traveling and sell more advertising aimed at people on the go.

The changes come as USA Today and other major newspapers cope with declining revenue as more advertising shifts from print pages to the Web. USA Today, based in McLean, Va., has eliminated jobs and cut other expenses to cope with the downturn.

The newspaper's print edition was losing paid circulation until it posted a slight increase earlier this year. USA Today's circulation averaged nearly 1.8 million during the six months that ended Sept. 30. It ranked behind The Wall Street Journal, whose circulation of nearly 2.1 million includes hundreds of thousands of digital subscribers. Unlike the Journal, the USA Today doesn't charge fees to access its website and mobile devices.

Hillkirk, 56, has worked at USA Today since the newspaper started in 1982. He ran USA Today's Money section for nine years before being named executive editor in 2004. He was promoted to editor-in-chief in 2009 when Dave Hunke became USA Today's publisher.

"We greatly appreciate John's good work over the last 30 years, especially the last two years as editor during this critical transformation phase," Susie Ellwood, USA Today's general manger, wrote in a memo to the newspaper's staff on Wednesday.

Davis, 31, came to Gannett in 2008 after the company bought his "extreme" sports website, He will be based in Los Angeles.

Davis "is a highly creative entrepreneur, and we know he will lead this division with the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that it requires," Ellwood said in a statement.