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The Orange County Register Hopes You Can Still Be Friends

Business is bad. How bad? So bad that the Orange County Register eliminated the Business section. It also shut down a few publications that have been sucking at its money teat for way too long. Oh, and it’s been putting fewer stories in the paper and shoveling (that’s their actual word, “shoveling”) more stories online. Where no one can find them.

In response to angry readers, publisher Terry Horne did what every person of authority would do after making difficult decisions. He wrote a blog post.

These are all tough things to work through at the same time that a general recession seems to have gripped the economy. I admit we’ve been facing some very difficult decisions. I can understand how many readers can take issue with various steps we’ve taken in recent months. We’ve taken those steps after much discussion, analysis and, frankly, hand wringing. We are trying to preserve jobs so we can continue to gather and distribute important information whether online or in print.

Please don’t credit our decisions to greed. The family ownership has agreed to accept dramatically lower performance, both last year and in our projected 2008 business year. They have refused to force management to take some of the more drastic cost-cutting steps taken by many publically owned newspaper companies.

We will work our way through this down period and when business gets better we will again expand the amount of space we give to news. And I’m sure editors will weigh carefully what content to add back to the Register. Your comments are duly noted.

What’s weirder than a publisher expecting readers to stick by as they’re given less information in harder-to-navigate format? The comments such a decision has inspired. Like this one from someone who is, apparently, writing in from 1941:

Doyle Smith Says:
Thanks for the current local section. I can set in my easy chair and read the AM paper

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