USA Today Lays Off 5 Black Sports Journalists

In a move that it described as restructuring, USA Today laid off five black sports journalists on Wednesday.

According to, assignment editor G.E. Branch, web and video editor Gene Farris, NBA reporter J. Michael Falgoust, design editor Dixie Vereen, and motor sports reporter Gary Graves were all relieved of their duties by the newspaper.

Branch was part of the founding team at USA Today, joining the operation in 1982.

Eric Fisher and John Ourand of Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness daily reported the move: “USA Today Sports Media Group has enacted a significant restructuring of its editorial roster that has resulted in the departure of about a dozen veteran staffers of the media outlet.”

USA Today Sports Media Group President Tom Beusse spoke with Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily about the new direction they are looking to go in.

“This process was about redefining and reimagining Sports and the roles within it to create a center of excellence and build a great sports franchise,” he said. “With this new structure, we are now well-positioned to operate in a 24-7 digital environment. This is a major step forward.”

As newspapers across the country have fallen victim to a collapsed economy and the fleeing of readers to the web, huge numbers of journalists have been axed over the last decade. Black journalists have fared particularly badly in the downsizing.


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