Gustavo's Latest KCRW "Orange County Line": On Aaron Kushner's Continuing OC/LBC/LA Register Empire!

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I'm still on the record as stating that Orange County Register owner Aaron Kushner is heading toward a spectacular fall, especially given his recent announcement that he plans to open a Los Angeles edition of his paper. And the shoe seems to already be falling--not only has he told workers revenue ain't where he wants it at, but he recently laid off over 40 employees at the recently acquired Riverside Press-Enterprise, only saying none of them were "front-line reporters," whatever the hell that meant.

Anyhoo, Kushner's empire-building was the subject of my latest "Orange County Line" for KCRW-FM 89.9.

Enjoy!

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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3 comments
JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

In the KCRW interview linked above, Kushner more or less proves beyond a reasonable doubt how clueless he is by uttering just 6 words about the LA Times:


"They're a very good national newspaper."  



No, no, and no.  That's the same hogwash anyone living in a cave since 1985 might say.  But at least in the past couple of decades or so, it's not true at all...the Times has excellent local coverage, including superior coverage of...wait for it...Orange County!  


The same was said for a long time about the New York Times.  It covered Beirut more than Bushwick.  Then, about 20 years ago, one of the younger Sulzbergers took over and drastically ramped up the local coverage (and overall hipness) of the Old Gray Lady.  


I've told the story here before about when Downey Savings collapsed in 2008.  Despite the name, Downey was based in Newport Beach, at Bristol and Jamboree.  When the FDIC seized control, within hours, the Times -- that very good national newspaper -- had a detailed, 'real' story about how, among other things, gun-toting agents raided the headquarters, unannounced, on a Friday evening.  The hometown Register?  One of its White male business bloggers published a short, pretty-much detail-less blurb about it in his blog, most of which probably was regurgitated from the wire services or local TV news. 

The next time a big story happens in OC, I'll pay anyone to buy a digital subscription to the Register so they can compare the coverage with the Times.  Or, better yet, just go back into the archives and do it.  Itzcoatl Ocampo?  The Dorner murders at the Irvine condo?  Without even looking, I can tell you 90% of the stories were choppy messes that, in their online versions, ended with the words, "More details to come."  And on the features side, let's just say Russ Parsons can muse about local -- there's that word again -- restaurants a lot better than Nancy Luna. 


What does it say about Freedom Communications' vaunted local coverage when they put up a paywall around their flagship paper and this news junkie still easily gets his local scoops from the Times and the Weekly?  What am I missing, exactly?  The civil discourse Kushner promotes?  We've got a lot of that in this very blog, thank you very much...and, arguably, it's a hell of a lot more "civil" than the comments you read in the Register's comments section. 


The LA Times -- that very good national newspaper -- somehow found the wherewithal recently to incessantly cover the continuing plight of the cherished Angel's Flight Railway in Bunker Hill.  The only angels Kushner's LA Register might cover are the investor ones who are funding his ill-fated media endeavor.  But he'll cover them only when he's not printing sponsored sections for USC and Loyola Marymount, of course. 


Kushner: The LA Register will be a "fabulous" stand-alone newspaper.  

Fabulous!  (*snap *snap *snap)

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

Since the sign-language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's funeral isn't available, let me help translate some of Aaron Kushner's words for you: 



Aaron Kushner: "We've added over 200 people just in our newsroom."  

>>>...180 of which are interns and recent grads of Tier 8 j-schools.  All earning $10/hour.  Plus a housing stipend...to live in North Long Beach or (maybe) Bellflower.  



Aaron Kushner: "...help the communities that we serve really thrive."  

>>>...via sponsored content from some of the same entities in our community we are supposed to cover in an unbiased manner, with no hint of conflict-of-interest.

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