The latest movie critic to leave a long-running, high-profile job is USA Today’s Claudia Puig, who has held the position since 2001. News of her depature began to circulate after Betsy Sharkey announced she was leaving the Los Angeles Times last week, which Puig confirmed in print today. She wrote:
Friday marks my final film review for USA TODAY. I am excited to embark on new adventures. I will still regularly discuss movies on public radio and video and will continue to watch, think, dream and, most of all, love movies. Even after seeing thousands of them. Especially after seeing thousands of them.
It’s not easy to leave the cherished colleagues and editors who sent me on this journey, some of whom also are departing this week. I will never be able to fully express my gratitude for their encouragement as a lifelong fascination with movies became my calling. I am deeply appreciative of their expert pruning, revising and enhancing when I sorely needed it.
Above all, I want to bid farewell to the readers. I thank you sincerely for the trust you placed in me. I will miss you all.
You’ve kept me on track, ever-aware of this responsibility and privilege of watching movies and offering counsel on how to spend your time and money. But mostly I hope I steered you to the truly great film experiences, the ones that elevate us, make us feel more connected, informed, entertained and alive.
It has been my pleasure to serve you, USA TODAY readers. I leave grateful for these incredible years at the Nation’s Newspaper. Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you at the movies.
Puig said she was one of 56 employees who had taken a buyout in the latest round of staff cuts at USA Today. Last fall, USA Today’s parent company, Gannett, announced plans to spin off its 82 newspapers into a company separate from its broadcast and digital holdings. A major round of layoffs, described by one employee as a “bloodbath” followed. No word yet on how (or if) Puig’s position will be filled.