Where's the Diversity At in the Orange County Register's Recent Hiring Spree?

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"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it: I'll hire people who look like me!"
Yes, yes: The Orange County Register has embarked on a hiring spree not seen since the days Otis Chandler was sweating money back in the 1980s. Yes, yes: hiring up, not down, is a wonderful strategy, not just because it ensures news reporting doesn't disappear but also employs people and keeps writers from joining the dark side that is PR.

But a funny thing has emerged as Reg reporter Aaron Kushner basks in the limelight of positive press for turning himself into the Daddy Warbucks of print. Notice all the Reg reporters? They're so...white. It's about as white as the Balboa Bay Club membership--and even this den of old money keeps a couple of token "Hispanics" to spice up the membership rolls.


An imperfect analysis* of the Reg's new hires show that the reporters hardly match the new multicultural reality that is Orange County. Out of the 76 (!) reporters and editors hired since Kushner purchased the paper almost a year ago, 79 percent of them are gabacho--this, in a county that became majority-minority nearly a decade ago and which 2010 Census figures show is only 43.5 percent gabacho (and that figure includes a hell of a lot of Arabs, Turks, and Persians, figures the Census still barely acknowledges). And the numbers only get worse once you start stacking them compared to county figures for "minorities."

When it comes to Asians, which make up 18 percent of the county's population, only about 8 percent of the Reg's new hires are Asians--and not a single one of them have been Vietnamese or Korean, the county's two biggest Asian groups.

When it comes to Latinos, of course, the numbers are even more pathetic. In a county that's just over a third Latino, only 8 percent of the Reg's new hires are Latino--and one of them was a rehire in society reporter Anne Valdespino. And another person I'm counting for this list is a layout guy.

The only group over-represented on this list are African-Americans: 2.6 percent of their new hires (a whopping two reporters) is African-American--this, in a county that's 2.1 percent African-American. Progress!

The Register's emphasis on the white goes along with Kushner's push to turn back the clock in OC to the 1950s, back when everything was great and gabacho 'round here, instead of covering the county for what it is. And while I'm the first person to hire folks based on their qualifications and not to fill a quota (that is, if I had the ability to hire people...), I also know a hell of a lot of supremely talented Latino, African-American, and Asian-American reporters here in Southern California who have been out of work for years, who the Register could've easily called up for an interview--and who didn't.

And before someone starts prying into the Weekly's ranks: we got two Mexis, one Asian, and one negrito on a staff of 11. We were better with diversity, and we can be better--but I don't got millions of pesos to play around with like Kushner, you know?

*The figures for this post came from tracking all writers we could find who didn't have a byline before May, and verifying they are still reporting for the Register. It would've been much easier if Reg Minister of Information Eric Morgan could've provided us with a list of all the newbies, but he declined--not a surprise. When we asked him for the ethnic breakdown of the new hires, he never responded back.

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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37 comments
JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

And even worse, the Register relegates its Latinos to re-writing press releases and baking biscuits! 

RocketJ
RocketJ topcommenter

So if the county is majority minority is the register actually hiring minorities?

STOPTHERECONQUISTA
STOPTHERECONQUISTA

hmmmm, I wonder if the OCR requires a degree or experience. If so....what are the % of latinos graduating from college or working for 10-20 yrs in journalism? 


or maybe GUS thinks population representation (illegal and legal) is all that matters....


Can't wait until he calls for our OC nuclear station to be manned by unskilled illegals since they make up a part of the population.

n2bigmuscle
n2bigmuscle topcommenter

Maybe only white people read the newspaper? 

Bill
Bill

Kushner isn't doing the interviewing and actual hiring. Perhaps your ire should be directed at the editors who are.

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

"Kushner's push to turn back the clock in OC to the 1950s"

LOL

SnarkShark
SnarkShark

This is starting to get embarrassing... The hard-on you have for the Reg is starting to get ridiculous. It's getting pretty obvious that your own insecurities are driving this "Deathwatch" coverage.

“Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.” 

-H.G. Wells

gottaknow247
gottaknow247

Maybe instead of looking at the number of 'reporters' the OCR has hired, try looking at the OCR hiring practices collectively. Maybe there's just not THAT many Asian or Hispanic journalism graduates out there, and if there were, maybe THEY aren't looking to work for a conservative OC newspaper.  Look, I'm not fan of the OCR either, but to bash them because they hired 6 Asian reporters, when they, statistically speaking, should have hired 13, isn't exactly newsworthy. 

Besides, if they keep this paywall up, most of these new hires will be looking for a job within 6 months anyhow.

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

The real question is why the county 'became' majority-minority. This isn't due to some sort of force of nature, but rather to policy.  Why doesn't immigration reflect America (still 2/3 white after decades of demographic war against us)? Why does a country which is built out (except for the inhospitable interior), have mass immigration at all? Why are whites subsidizing families of non-whites via SNAP/EBT, 'free' school breakfasts and lunches, etc).

Whites need to stand up now and demand the war against us stop.

gottaknow247
gottaknow247

@mike.lawson Just guessing that white reporters are under represented at La Opinion.  Should we graph the demographics?  Didn't think so.  Don't confuse 'community' with 'readers'

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@mike.lawson Judging from the names and occupations under the 'who we are' tab at liberalOC, you guys are whiter than the Register. There's like one 'Hispanic', and that's it. (No, Armenians don't count as 'people of color').

I also esp. enjoyed this -- which you get if you web search for 'mike lawson" and OC.

"Mike Lawson has moved away from Orange County and now lives in Phoenix Arizona. "

Wait -- aren't we still supposed to be boycotting the entire 'police state' of Arizona because of 227? Moving to AZ is bad enough -- but Maricopa County? LOL.

White liberals are such hypocrites.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@gottaknow247 Of course it's newsworthy. Kushner says he wants to cover all of OC, when his hiring policies show otherwise.

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

@gottaknow247  

The last sentence by gottaknow247 is so true.  When the honeymoon's over at the Reg, there's going to be a lot of self-adoring Whites looking for paid gigs from OC Metro, Riviera, and community papers, desperate to save their reputations 

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@gottaknow247 Yeah, you have to have a HS diploma to be a reporter now a days (why I don't know). That eliminates 50% or so of 'Latinos' right there.

Dave_Lieberman
Dave_Lieberman

@Mitchell_Young Immigration never did reflect America. If you looked like the people who were here, you were already here. And inhospitable interior? You think the Great Plains are built out? Also, have you been to Iowa lately? Or Oklahoma, or North Dakota? Even the places where non-Hispanic Caucasians were 90-plus percent of the population twenty years ago are sprouting taquerías and phở shops.

Back before those uppity non-whites started clamoring for the rights they should have had but weren't granted, your ilk complained about (in roughly chronologically descending order) the Eastern Europeans, the Ashkenazi Jews, the Italians, the Irish, the Scandinavians, and the Germans, all European whites. You'll find someone else to blame soon enough, and the rest of us will roll our eyes just like we do now.

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@gottaknow247 @mike.lawson Yeah, pathetic. Don't you know that 'people of color' get to have their own things (BET, Univision, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Asian-Pacific Islander whatnot), but whites are absolutely forbidden to have our own stuff. Hell, even NASCAR is working hard to recruit 'minority' drivers. 

mike.lawson
mike.lawson

@Mitchell_Young - there is also just one white person in my bed...but neither of these things are a newspaper.

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@Dave_Lieberman @Mitchell_Young  David, you obviously have no idea of the demographic history of the US. First, after the revolution there was a long long period of low immigration --but the countries growth demographically and economically was huge.  BTW, naturalization was limited to 'free, white persons'. But more importantly, when transport technology made true mass immigration possible at the end of the 19th century, wise heads in America stopped it.

You see, immigration during most of the 20th century did reflect the population of the United States -- that's what the national origins system was all about. And you know what, when that system was in effect we had the Baby Boom, the growth of a huge middle class, increasing income equality, and great technological progress (we put a man on the moon at a time when foreign born were at an all time low, Apple and Microsoft were founded soon after). But I guess all that pales beside the opportunity to get a bowl of fancy beef broth. 

It isn't 1910 anymore (thank god). Immigration Romanticism is as passé as the ice man and the horse whip. There are no homesteads anymore, no factories requiring massive amounts of human labor. That's why immigrants and their children today are concentrated in low value added service industries, or industries like apparel that should be left to developing countries, not post-industrial rich societies. And that's why California, historically a magnet for actual Americans (like your New Jersey self), is not experiencing an exodus of the native born. It aint the weather Dave, or the earthquakes. It's the mass immigration.



Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@mike.lawson @Mitchell_Young Bad analogy of the year!

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@Dave_Lieberman @Mitchell_Young "Then it was the Scandinavians, where people in Minnesota talked about a Swedish invasion."

Well, since Scandinavians were just about the first white folks in the upper mid-West (save the occasional French fur trader), it was an invasion, and it did turn out pretty badly for the people there before them.



Dave_Lieberman
Dave_Lieberman

@Mitchell_Young @Dave_Lieberman If you mean I have no idea of your version of the demographic history, you're right, and I'm okay with that because it's neither useful nor entertaining. You missed my point entirely, which is that there has always been a group of people wringing their hands that this group or that group will finally cause the U.S. to buckle and collapse. First it was the Germans—oh no, Pennsylvania will collapse if we don't limit the number of Germans. The Germans of the late 18th and early 19th century were pretty much all white Protestants. Then it was the Scandinavians, where people in Minnesota talked about a Swedish invasion. Then it was NINA—No Irish Need Apply—in Boston, then it was the Italians and the Jews in New York City, the "bohunks" in Chicago... all white, all European, all reviled as an outside force.

You're right, we put a man on the moon—after masses and masses and masses of immigrants showed up here. My grandfather had emigrated from Lithuania by the time the space progam was here.

You need to go drive through the so-called "White Midwest", because it isn't anymore. I was an on-call translator for my county sheriff's office in 1998, because they had to deal with the occasional Spanish-speaking family.

You think that having immigrant labor in low-value-added service industries and manufacturing is a new thing? Der Arbeiter Ring is still going strong, and it's been around since 1900, formed to protect Yiddish-speaking Jews in exactly the same industries you're talking about.

Income equality? You think the disappearing notion of income equality is due to people extending the poor end of the scale, and not executives who make hundred of times the average wage, that if we just got rid of the menial positions suddenly we'd be wealthier? Oh, please.

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