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Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Kushner’

Rich Mirman: Newspaper Publisher and Paperboy

2010_The_Orange_County_Register-logoUsually, it goes in the other direction. A teenager starts out delivering newspapers and then, many years later, can point to having ascended through the ranks of the publication to EIC or publisher.

But the Orange County Register, thanks to the actions of Aaron Kushner, is no ordinary newspaper. From Gustavo Arellano‘s feature interview report in OC Weekly:

[Newly hired publisher Rich] Mirman arrived at the Register‘s printing plant his first weekend on the job at 2 a.m., folding papers alongside his wife. After stacking hundreds of papers into a car, he and another Register worker drove to Huntington Beach at 3:30, with Mirman tossing papers out of the passenger window.

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Orange County Register Has a Weekend on Par with Angels

oc registerOn the one hand, it’s a victory for print journalism. Dozens of Saturday and Sunday newspaper subscribers outraged that their papers were not delivered. On the other hand, the Orange County Register‘s solution only added fuel to the ire.

“Free copies of the Sunday and Saturday papers are available in the OC Register lobby at 625 N. Grand Avenue, Santa Ana until 5 p.m. today,” the paper posted Sunday on Facebook, prompting a string of angry reader comments and a different tack from the paper. One that sounded a lot like the remarks being made by members of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim after being swept out of the MLB playoffs Sunday by the Kansas City Royals:

No excuses. We are sorry for the lack of delivery in your neighborhood, and the inconvenience this has caused you and family members this weekend. The only acceptable solution is receiving your newspaper and timely delivery to all subscribers… and we’re working toward that goal. We are correcting the breakdowns in routes, and are actively responding to each person who has contacted us at customerservice@ocregister.com.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Freedom Shutters LA Register | ISIS Releases Journalist Video

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Layoffs Hit Freedom Communications as It Ceases Publication of LA Register (LA Times)
Layoffs hit the Orange County Register on Tuesday after owner Freedom Communications ceased publication of its Los Angeles daily five months after it debuted. TheWrap A spokesperson for the LA Register said that 29 newsroom positions have been eliminated as a result of the paper’s shutdown. An unspecified number of employees will be transferred to the Orange County Register. WSJ / CMO Today The owner of Freedom Communications Inc., Aaron Kushner, who turned heads last year when he announced he was launching the daily newspaper, admitted Tuesday that the move was a failure. “As strong a newspaper as our team produced, our business model is a virtuous circle,” Kushner said in a statement. “If the support is not at a level that matches our investment, we have to adapt and make adjustments as we’ve done today.” HuffPost / AP Freedom said it will focus on markets in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. It owns the Riverside Press-Enterprise, which it bought in November for more than $27 million. NYT The LA Register ceased publication with its Monday issue. Monday evening, Kushner sent a memo to his employees announcing the news. An article about the shutdown ran on the newspaper’s front page.

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Newspaper Reporter Explains the Reasons for His Departure

KevinSabanKevin Sablan (pictured), one of the Orange County Register journalists who recently took a buyout, has blogged today about how that decision was reached. He devotes a great deal of his post to what were, for him, the better Register days:

During my first eight years at the paper, I worked on advancing our digital efforts. I started as a slightly glorified Web monkey, part of a team that got stories online and made sure the site’s many moving parts were updated throughout the day.

Freedom. It was a great time. There weren’t enough bosses to review everything that published online, and standards were still being set. I could experiment without fear of losing my job. I threw in some fancy CSS and JavaScript trickery. I did things like embed a tour of the Rose Parade (a Google Map that could be navigated with custom buttons) into an article. I made tables sortable. I never had to ask for permission…

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Cuts at Kushner Papers | Time Warner Sells HQ | Manjoo to NYT

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Layoffs at OC Register, Riverside Press-Enterprise (LA Times / Money & Co.)
Significant layoffs hit the newsrooms Thursday at the Orange County Register and Riverside Press-Enterprise, a troubling sign for the Aaron Kushner-owned publications. Exact numbers have not been released at the Register, although the cuts there are reported to number roughly 35 people. The paper’s editor, Ken Brusic, and most other top editorial managers have departed, according to multiple sources in the newsroom who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak. LA Times The elimination of 71 employees, many of them seasoned journalists, marks a sharp reversal by Kushner, who controls Freedom Communications Inc., which owns both papers. The former greeting card executive had spent much of the last 18 months growing his publications, acquiring additional news outlets and hiring more than 100 reporters and editors in the process. LA Observed It’s all about restructuring for the future, including the Register‘s upcoming invasion of Los Angeles County, Kushner says. The “content team,” as he puts it, is now 172 people larger than when he arrived, Kushner writes. Donna Wares, previously announced as editor-in-charge of the LA Register, will become managing editor. Poynter / MediaWire Rob Curley is the new editor of the Register. He replaces Brusic, who the Register says is “stepping down as part of a reorganization of the newspaper’s newsroom.”

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Newspaper Exec: Print Media Gave Away the Cheeseburger

MashableLogoThings sometimes have a funny way of working out on a media blog. This morning, we told you about the appointment of two new EICs at Fashionista. This afternoon, it’s time to highlight one of the final contributions to Mashable by Lauren Indvik, one of those capable incoming individuals.

Right now in the U.S., three of the most intriguing newspaper concerns are Robert Allbritton‘s Capital New York (to go along with Politico), Jeff BezosWashington Post and Aaron Kushner/Eric Spitz‘s Orange County Register. Indvik’s Q&A with Spitz covers some by-now familiar Register territory, although he starts off with an analogy that we had not previously heard:

“The key decisions [the newspaper industry] made — and they were the worst decisions anyone has made in my memory — they made 20 years or so ago. They took their core product, the news, and priced it at free.”

“If you are McDonald’s, you can give away straws, napkins, Wi-Fi and really nice TV sets that everybody can watch, but you can’t give away cheeseburgers.”

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Jay Rosen Gets More Details About Glenn Greenwald Venture

For Glenn Greenwald‘s quickly revealed billionaire backer Pierre Omidyar, it started in Honolulu and continued in Washington D.C.

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In a telephone conversation with NYU prof and journalism seer Jay Rosen, Omidyar explained how his experiences with the website Honolulu Civil Beat led to a failed attempt to buy WaPo and a successful attempt to commit to the next (other) big thing:

Omidyar said that his involvement in Civil Beat whetted his appetite to do something larger in news. “I have always been of the opinion that the right kind of journalism is a critical part of our democracy.” He said he had watched closely over the last 15 years as the business model in journalism collapsed but had not “found a way to engage directly.”

But then when the idea of buying the Washington Post came up he started to think about it more seriously. “It brings together some of my interests in civic engagement and building conversations and of course technology, but in a very creative way.”

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Freedom Communications President Points to Pair of Shining Newspaper Examples

It’s another momentous day at the Santa Ana, CA headquarters of the Orange County Register. The Eric Spitz-Aaron Kushner regime is celebrating the launch of the Long Beach Register, a new daily newspaper going head-to-head in that region with the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Spitz is very clear about his belief in website paywalls. He made his case for valuing digital news content alongside Kushner in a recent one-year anniversary Q&A and restates those same basic principles today via Wall Street Journal op ed:

I know of only two major newspaper companies that have not seen significant declines in their subscriber bases in the past decade: The Wall Street Journal and Groupa Reforma, the largest newspaper company in Mexico. The former has never given away its digital content, and the latter erected its first paywall in 2002.

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From Across the Pond, The Guardian Applauds Orange County Register

Rory Carroll, US west coast correspondent for The Guardian, recently spent some time down in Santa Ana, CA at the offices of the print media industry-defying Orange County Register. The resulting piece has now been published under the headline “California Newspaper Defies Industry Wisdom To Stay Alive – And Prospers.”

Not only does the Register, since April 2013, have a hard paywall. But one employee who expresses in the article his admiration for the robustness of the paper’s print edition sideswipes in the process one of Internet’s most beloved viral animal species:

Register staff – the newsroom has doubled to 360 in the past year – exude giddy, wary optimism that their paper has a bright future. Instead of rewriting stories they are filling multiple new sections with original reporting. “Feel the weight. This has 10 sections – and on a Tuesday. If it hit your cat, you’d kill it,” said Rob Curley, deputy editor of local news.

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Report: Bay Area Media Mogul Set to Add Non-Controlling Interest in GLBT Weekly

In case you hadn’t noticed, a fascinating newspaper rivalry has teed up in San Francisco. One that is about to become even more clearly, solidly delineated.

As we recently reported, Hearst has enlisted a couple of major execs  to try and re-invigorate San Francisco Chronicle print-digital operations. The daily will be vying for readers alongside a range of properties controlled by Todd Vogt‘s San Francisco Newspaper Company.

This morning, SF Appeal reporter Max A. Cherney updates a recent announcement that Vogt is about to add a stake in the Bay Area Reporter, a 42-year-old LGBT-focused print weekly. From Cherney’s report:

In a letter of intent, inked in April, Vogt and SFNC CFO Patrick Brown made clear their plan to acquire a minority stake in the Bay Area Reporter – independently of the SFNC.

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