Gannett, publisher of USA Today and hundreds of other newspapers, is instituting major cost cutting measures amid a “deteriorating macroeconomic environment,” CEO Mike Reed said in an internal memo obtained by the New York Times. The company is requiring employees to take five days of unpaid time off in December and is offering severance to those who voluntarily leave. The newspaper industry has fallen on hard times in recent years as circulations and advertising dollars have declined, contributing to increases in news deserts and the spread of misinformation. Gannett merged with GateHouse Media in 2019 to become the largest U.S. newspaper publisher based on daily circulation. It owns local newspapers like the Des Moines Register, Detroit Free Press and the El Paso Times, as well as newspapers in the U.K. Gannett employs 16,300 people, 85 percent of whom are in the U.S. It still has $1 billion in debt from the merger.