Five black sports journalists were laid off at USA Today on Wednesday, staffers told Journal-isms.
They are: G.E. Branch, assignment editor; Johnnie Falgoust, NBA reporter; Gene Farris, web and video editor; Gary Graves, motor sports reporter; and Dixie Vereen, page designer.
Branch was a USA Today founder, joining the operation in 1982. He worked there until 2004, returning full time in September. He started out as a copy editor but worked the majority of his time there as an assignment editor. Farris started at USA Today in 2005, arriving from the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal as international edition sports editor. Graves has been an NFL writer at the paper since 1997, and covered motorsports since 2001.
Eric Fisher and John Ourand of Street and Smith’s Sports Business Daily reported:
“USA Today Sports Media Group has enacted a significant restructuring of its editorial roster that has resulted in the departures of about a dozen veteran staffers of the media outlet, including sports business and media writer Michael McCarthy and ‘Game On’ blogger Tom Weir.