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Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Kushner’

Orange County Register Adding D.C. Bureau

It’s truly remarkable how the hits just keep on coming at the Orange County Register. The latest is one of the highest-profile moves yet by the very active regime of Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz.

Starting April 2, longtime former Register staffer Cathy Taylor (pictured) will be back in the fold as head of the paper’s new Washington D.C. bureau. From today’s announcement:

Taylor served as a reporter, editor and columnist supporting the Register’s business coverage, and joined the Opinion and Commentary pages in November 1996. She was a member of the Register’s senior leadership team as vice president of Opinion and Commentary before leaving the company in November 2011 to accept a position at Washington, D.C.-based Eagle Publishing as editor of Human Events, a national weekly publication.

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A Good Example of Aaron Kushner’s Media M.O.

From the outset of Aaron Kushner’s reign as owner-publisher of the Orange County Register, we’ve been impressed by his willingness to engage not just the community but also outside reporters and critics.

In this latest example, Kushner took the initiative via email. The context for his correspondence with USC professor Marc Cooper and website Voice of OC was an old journalism axiom, a pair of articles by Adam Elmahrek and a related Romenesko report of some March 6 newsroom comments by Kushner.

Last night, Voice of OC published two emails sent by Kushner (one to both Cooper and Voice of OC, one to just Cooper) as well as Cooper’s response. From Kushner’s first email:

There are many ways a newspaper serves its community. One important way is by holding those in power accountable for their use of that power. That is why in just the last six months the Register has hired more investigative reporters and journalists to cover city halls and Orange County business and political leaders than every other newspaper in America combined. How we cover those in power with one of the largest watchdog and beat reporting teams in the country is about getting it right, which includes tone. I agree with Marc that there is no dichotomy between being respectful and having robust coverage of our community and those who lead it.

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Five Takeaways from LA Weekly’s Fabulous LA Times Feature

Timing is everything. Just a few days before this week’s LA Weekly article “Who Will Buy the LA Times?” by Hillel Aron, CNBC broke the news that JPMorgan and Evercore will be handling the sale of the paper and other Tribune Co. assets.

That context gives the piece some extra urgency, and from this excellent bit of work by Aron, we were most struck by the following:

Richest Man in LA vs. Richest Man in the World: Aron references Patrick Soon-Shiong (pictured) in connection with former mayoral candidate Austin Beutner’s effort to put together a stealth group of combined LAT buyers. Surprisingly (at least to us), nowhere in the article does Carlos Slim come up, the man responsible for the relaunch of Larry King and much more. Aron confirms to FishbowlLA that it was not a case of being edited out; “no one ever mentioned Slim,” the writer says.

Two Shades of WSJ: The article characterizes Rupert Murdoch as the man who could potentially outbid everyone, with media expert Ken Doctor telling Aron the Wall Street Journal owner remains the odds-on favorite to acquire the newspaper. Doctor also thinks the two publications’ editorial and ad operations could be streamlined in a number of intriguing ways.

Which is perhaps ironic, because Aron also reminds that Times publisher and Tribune Co. CEO Eddie Hartenstein took a lot of flack internally for his decision to allow the Journal to print at the LAT, bumping the paper’s daily schedule down and “ruining its time-zone advantage over east coast papers.”

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Change in OC Register’s Political Advertising Policy Raises Eyebrows

We’re not trying to take Aaron Kushner‘s side here. But we do applaud the fact that this particular media company owner replied to a hot-potato-topic query from Voice of OC reporter Adam Elmahrek:

Kushner, who responded by email within hours, acknowledged that the Register recently adjusted its policy regarding political advertising. He said, however, that the policy was changed because “we don’t like negative political advertisements,” not out of support for Anaheim’s council majority.

“It was brought to our attention that the Register has had an inconsistent process for reviewing political advertising, which we are working to address and make more systematic,” Kushner wrote. “This is not a comment or endorsement of any particular politician or political cause but a systematic review of our process as we strive to better serve Orange County in everything that we do.”

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Aaron Kushner Lunches with 170 PR Professionals

During a Friday discussion sponsored by the Orange County chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (OCPRSA), Register publisher Aaron Kushner highlighted some of the newest components of his print media broadside. Or, as moderator Steve Churm framed it, “new chapter in American journalism.”

Starting in April, two magazines published by Churm’s recently Register-acquired firm (OC Family, OC METRO) will be bundled with the Monday print edition of the newspaper. Kushner also urged attendees to make sure their clients take advantage of his publication’s BUSINESSPremier program:

The membership program provides seven-day business subscribers with a once-a-week advertising presence in a community newspaper valued at more than $1,500, free help wanted ads and other business-building benefits.

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Pretty Much Everyone is Rumored to Buy The Boston Globe

Ever since the New York Times Company announced that it was selling the Boston Globe, people have been speculating about who/what will purchase the paper.

Because the media is nothing but precise, that list has now been narrowed down to about 834 potential buyers. Below are all the ones we found mentioned, but we’ve surely missed one or 500.

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Many Moons After First OC Register Byline, Jim McCurdie Returns to Paper’s Sports Section

One intriguing element of the Orange County Register‘s resurgence is that the Aaron Kushner era has compelled several former staffers to rejoin the fold. This was the case earlier this month with business reporter Bernard Wolfson and is true once again last week for Jim McCurdie (pictured).

A managing editor for FoxSports.com and, previously, a sports reporter with the Long Beach Press-Telegram, McCurdie is now working the evening print and Web sports copy editor shift:

“I’m really excited to be joining the talented team here and returning to the place where I began my career in journalism at the age of 19,” McCurdie said. “It’s been a little surreal coming back, but you can feel the energy and excitement in this building. I look forward to being a part of that.”

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This Guy Owns a Ferrari, a Bentley and Now… A Local Newspaper

Alan Smolinisky‘s 15-month old son Charlie was named in honor of billionaire investor Charles Munger. In his home, there is also a framed, flattering hand-written note from another three-comma titan, Warren Buffett.

So why would Smolinisky have paid seven figures for the money-losing Pacific Palisades weekly newspaper the Palisadian-Post? Because, like Aaron Kushner with the Orange County Register, Doug Manchester down in San Diego and the LA Times‘ imminent new owner, this savvy investor believes in the future of a well-targeted and storied print publication. Per Martha GrovesLA Times write-up:

Bill Bruns, managing editor since 1993, likes to joke that, if a resident of Brentwood won a Nobel Prize, the paper would not cover the story. But if the person lived in the Palisades the news would land on the front page.

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SF Newspaper Company Set to Announce Next Bay Area Acquisition

Max Cherney, a contributor to online newspaper The San Francisco Appeal, had an interesting email exchange this week with Todd Vogt (pictured). The owner of the Bay Area’s Examiner and Bay Guardian newspapers confirmed he’s about to announce local acquisition number three.

Vogt indicated the news was to be shared by the end of today. The reporter was unable however to get any on-the-record comment from reps for the East Bay Express and Village Voice Media’s SF Weekly, two most likely targets of The SF Newspaper Company exec. From Cherney’s December 20 item:

“The new property will be highly complimentary to The Examiner and the Guardian,” Vogt wrote. “It will give us, by far, the greatest readership, reach and audience in the Bay Area, effectively covering every demographic in every corner of The City.”

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Freedom Communications Adds OC Magazine Publisher Churm Media

Another interesting development from the Orange County Register-Aaron Kushner end. On Tuesday, parent company Freedom Communications closed a deal to acquire Newport Beach-based Churm Media, publishers of free monthly magazine OC Metro and other similar print publications.

From this morning’s report by Ann Marie Milbourn:

“Steve Churm and the entire Churm Media team have done a fabulous job over multiple decades building a wealth of relationships and a portfolio of publications, websites, events and services that are robust, engaging and invaluable for Orange County,” said Kushner…

Added Churm: “This acquisition will significantly enhance the foundation we’ve built with readers and advertisers and help us reach our full growth potential. It’s a tremendous opportunity and we can’t wait to get started.”

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