[UPDATE: Now Hiring a Movie Critic?] Orange County Register Reporter on New Owner's Print-First Strategy to Reshape Paper: "Lunacy"

Thumbnail image for Aaron Kushner OCR boss new.jpg
Kushner: Can you send us a better publicity shot than this one?
Updated, with new info on the bottom...

After the sale of the Orange County Register to Boston businessman Aaron Kushner became complete late last month, he sat down with longtime Reg business reporter Mary Ann Milbourn to talk shop.

"Ultimately I believe that there are very few businesses that play the role and have the impact in the community that newspapers do," Kushner said. "It came down to an opportunity to help a really important institution find a way to grow."

He wasn't too specific then on how he was going to make the Reg grow, other than saying he wanted to make the dead-tree edition while erecting a pay wall online. But this week, Kushner (who has no previous journalism experience) and his lieutenants spent lots of time on Grand Street unveiling their vision--and they're freaking out a lot of longtimers and newbies, one of which describe this past week as "just absolutely crazy."

Already confirmed: a permanent Los Angeles Dodgers reporter, which would be a great addition. There's also rumors of hiring a full-time food critic, something the Register hasn't had since Elizabeth Evans earlier last decade, and other new positions. Those are the good developments. Oh, and four Morning Reads per day in the paper.

The ones freaking people out: sources tell the Weekly that almost all of the Register's 30+ (!) blogs save the sports ones will be eliminated. Some editors are going to become reporters. "No more focus on mobile," one source said, citing anonymity. And a switching of some reporters' beats to others (we've been told a big name, but won't release it until it gets announced, if the reporter's hysterics don't convince Kushner & Co. otherwise to leave them where they currently are).

And the paywall. Kushner actually thinks that people will pay for the Register both as a print product and online, despite the continued crashing of print. "That strategy, more than anything--to focus on print--are what people are freaking out about," said a source. "In this day and age, that's lunacy."

More--much more--to come as it's unveiled...

UPDATE, AUGUST 17, 11:39 A.M.: In a way, I feel bad for Kushner, as he's charged with the unenviable task of restoring what the Register fucked up long ago.

When sources told us that the Reg now wants to hire a full-time movie critic--that's a good thing--I couldn't help but to remember the last time OC's paper of record had a full-time in-house critic: in 2002, when they unceremoniously let go Henry Sheehan and replaced him with some yahoo from the Reg's former daily sister paper, the East Valley Tribune--I say "former," because the Tribune only publishes Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. At the time, the Reg was trumpeting Craig Outhier as a hot young talent while whispering that Sheehan was past his prime--but what ended up happening? The Register stopped running Outhier's reviews long ago, while Sheehan never stopped (you can still hear him every Friday on Filmweek on KPCC-FM 89.3).

So let's hope the film critic rumors are true--and let's hope Kushner is smart and rehires Sheehan instead of some young pendejo...

Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
33 comments
etsnell
etsnell

As a political activist and a investigative freelance reporter. I feel that the OC Register has a obligation to keep us informed on Disney control and take over at the Anaheim city hall. Please stop the evil Disney political machine. If  you have any doubts as to what I say  "GOOGLE DISNEY CORRUPTION. Disney has turned our city into a bloody mess  and a political brothel.

 

ET Snell

Clown Community Activist

www.etsnell.com

OCLocal
OCLocal

I will not pay for the online version of the register, ever. Nor would I pay for the print version.

ridingbeam
ridingbeam

Also the OC Register is just a print version of Bretbart.com or whatever hell its called...

ridingbeam
ridingbeam

I don't live in OC, I live in LA, but seriously LA Weekly and OC Weekly are both going down shitters, and the LA Times is really close behind in this race to the bottom. If it wasn't for the Nation or Mother Jones or Democracy Now I would have no news at all.

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

Aaron Kushner, if you're reading this, the first blog to get rid of is the one called "Fast Food Maven," which is an embarrasment not only to your newspaper, but to journalism, the County of Orange, and America in general. Need a reason? Look no further than this "news story" by the Fast Food Maven blogger that ran on July 20 -- which appears to have been written verbatim by Wal-Mart (or perhaps the Armenian dude who own the shopping center referenced): http://www.ocregister.com/articles/neighborhood-364782-walmart-market.html Regurgitated press releases, mindless, reflexive cheerleading, fluff about your experiences baking buttermilk biscuits, and blog posts which always end with the author asking: "Tell us, what do you think about....." do not merit publication by the Orange County Register, nor anything else excpet a second grader's hand-pasted publication.

ernestogoldstein
ernestogoldstein

What childishness.

 

Gustavo, why don't you just worry about fixing this rag that is quickly sliding down the shitter...

ernestogoldstein
ernestogoldstein

 

Just curious, gussy-bear: "Kushner (who has no previous journalism experience)" as comparable to exactly where have you worked before the OC Weakly? What exactly was YOUR previous "journalism" experience???

 

Huh???

 

ernestogoldstein
ernestogoldstein

The ghetto OC Weakly obviously feels much animosity from the well established and respectable OC Register. The Register is actual journalism while the OCW is merely an opinion blog advertising tug jobs and pot shops.

key2thehighway
key2thehighway

@katecohen A lunacy I hope I can make some money from.

DanChmielewski
DanChmielewski

I spoke with Brian Calle last week and he says the new publisher will keep their Libertarian editorial pages; so no Liberal or Progressive voice on the opinion pages.  What are they so afraid of?

20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

I wouldn't pay for that piece of shit.  (Although, their Anaheim riot reporting was pretty damn good.)

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @ridingbeam How are we going down the shitter? And don'tcha forget that when Democracy Now needed someone to talk about the Anaheim riots, they turned to us!

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @JBinOC Let's just say that my source used the word "lunacy" on purpose...

bradmcdougal836
bradmcdougal836

 @ernestogoldstein Due to Gustavo's unfortunate and unmanly deficiencies in both size and stature, gussy-mouse would be much more appropriate; from photos, gussy looks to be about 5'4" and about 145 pounds. 

 

Sad, but true. 

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @ernestogoldstein Who put away Carona? Who gets innocent people out of jail? Who ridicules pathetic fanboys such as yourself?

jenifergattis
jenifergattis

 @DanChmielewski

 Hopefully the first to go is the sloppy reporter from the Santa Ana Register Blog.

 

Preety hard to cover SA from Huntington beach, especially when you are riding the bus to work!

 

 

ernestogoldstein
ernestogoldstein

 @20ftjesus You mean when compared to the OC Weekly's slight bias when covering Anaheim?

 

What happened Gussy? Did your little illegals' take over of Anaheim fizzle out?

ridingbeam
ridingbeam

 @GustavoArellano Gustavo LA Weekly's cover - a jewish boxer from the hard streets of LA Brea and Fairfax, who cares... Also no offense, when I heard you were on DN, I turned off the volume, i prefer to read column, then hear your voice, you sound like mexican version of Yon y Ken. 

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @bradmcdougal836 Wrong on both counts—and average-sized that I am, I can still kick both yours and "ernesto's" ass!

ernestogoldstein
ernestogoldstein

just checking Gustavo (who has no previous journalism experience). And yes, you certainly should celebrate tug jobs and pot shop advertising, you guys have made it huge!

ernestogoldstein
ernestogoldstein

 @GustavoArellano Give me a break. When Rebecca Shoenkopf was running the OC Weekly it was a very VERY respectable newspaper. Now thanks to you it has become a voice for illegals and south-of-the-border values.

 

And by the way, "pathetic fanboy" is not an insult in the least and it is actually hilarious that your low intelligence thinks it's an insult.

DanChmielewski
DanChmielewski

 @jenifergattis

 Clever "Jenifer" - but if you are referring to Andrew Galvin, he's not sloppy.  But your standard, journalists can only cover things that happen in the city in whcih they live. Does this mean Moxley has no credibility in covering issues in Laguna or Seal Beach?  Andrew's been on staff of the Register for more than 10 years and I believe moved to HB when he got the job in OC.  Then again, if you love the Santa Ana city council so much, go spak tonight and then see how many of the seven are actually paying attention to public comments instead of holding side meetings and walking around into the audience.  That sortof behavior doesn't happen even in Anaheim or Costa Mesa.

 

And Ernesto, Gustavo's work at OC Weekly has shown steady progression from staff writer to editor-in-chief.  I doubt anyone agrees with everything he writes, but to suggest OC Weekly is some sort of bon-respectable publication is ... dumb.  If you miss Commie Girl, catch her in all her glory on Wonkette. 

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @ridingbeam Dude, you're smoking your mota early today. They're "Sikhs," not "Shiks," and I don't understand what we didn't publish about Page, as all of our coverage is online...

ridingbeam
ridingbeam

 @GustavoArellano The story about the animal that killed all those Shiks in Wisconsin. I was reading it, then your team did not publish the rest of it. 

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @ridingbeam You still haven't said how OC Weekly is going down the shitter...

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @ernestogoldstein News flash, pendejo: Rebecca never ran the paper, we were pro-illegal then, and our level of respectability has always been the same—ZERO. And of course calling you a pathetic fanboy is an insult: otherwise, you wouldn't have responded to it. Pobrecito pendejo can't get a single damn thing correct...

DanChmielewski
DanChmielewski

 @jenifergattis  As far as Andrew leaving details out of stories, his editors might be cutting the stories to fit.  Your baseline understanding of how journalism works needs a little flexibility.  Andrew might be beat on a story but I haven't known him to be inaccurate in his reporting.

 

If you don't know the names and faces of your city council, I find your criticism of Andrew's coverage of your city misplaced.  Perhaps you need to learn more about how your city council governs your city.

 

Lastly, Andrew doesn't share emails with us.  And I don't make crank calls to you or anyone else for that matter.  But by all means, send me your address and I'm happy to send you a T-shirt ;)

 

 

jenifergattis
jenifergattis

 @DanChmielewski

 "Dan", yes I was referring to Andrew and his penchant for leaving out details, relying on the same source, his "friend" Alcia for so many comments, It's like the guy never left the santora bldg. As seedy as it may seem to you and others, there are a ton of other things going on here. My point is: wouldn't the community be better served by a resident and local? Maybe he can apply for the food critic job.

 

I'm not telling you anything you don't know as he clearly shares my husbands private EMAILS with you and Prevatt.

 

What does this have to do with the city council? Other than the Mayor, I wouldn't know thier names or faces. Thats a strange comment, i don't know what you are getting at.

 

Thanbks for the crank calls too! 

Now Trending

Anaheim Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Fashion

General

Loading...