April 1, 2009

USA Today publisher retires

USA Today lost a second top executive with the surprise retirement of publisher Craig Moon, who said his departure wasn't connected to the newspaper's finances.

Although revenues are down at the country's largest newspaper, Moon said he was leaving to explore other media investments. Referring to the newspaper, Moon said, you still have the workings of a successful business, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Moon has worked at parent company Gannett Co. for 23 years, including six as USA Today's publisher.

In March, Gannett's Chief Financial Officer Gracia Martore said ad revenue in the first quarter was predicted to drop 35 percent.

Moon said distribution was down 7 percent, or 100,000 newspapers, due to a reduction in travel. More than half the newspaper's daily circulation of 2.3 million is distributed through arrangements with hotels, the Journal said.

Gannett hasn't named a new editor for USA Today. John Hillkirk is serving as an interim editor following the Feb. 1 resignation of Editor Kenneth Paulson.

USA Today columnist Al Neuharth, the newspaper's founder, said: It would be unfair to say I expected that news. But things happen. People retire.