Names of 30 of the 32 OC Register Employees Laid Off--And Departing Reg Editor Sings A Song!: UPDATE
ORIGINAL POST, JAN. 16, 10 A.M. Several sources--via planes, trains, automobiles, smoke signals and even via the Weekly's anonymous tipster line, which NO ONE ever uses--are telling us The Orange County Register will be laying off reporters AND editors today. In fact, it's happening as I type this.
If so, the grand dream of Freedom Communications publisher Aaron Kushner--that the way out of the death of newspapers is to hire dramatically up, expand the newspaper and set up an Internet paywall--is over. And reality has set in.
"Layoffs coming today," said our anonymous tipster. "Already several senior reporters talking about getting cut loose."
Sources are naming names of people scheduled for the chopping block, but we won't print those until we get confirmation. But what we're hearing is that those laid off will mostly be long-timers at the Reg and will total about 30.
We've sent requests for comment to editor Ken Brusic and Minister of Information Eric Morgan. Details to come . . . and Reg reporters: feel free to reach out to me at the email below. Anonymity guaranteed.
FIRST UPDATE, 11:39 A.M.: Media watcher extraordinaire Jim Romensko reports that one of his sources is describing the layoffs as "a blood bath . . . nearly every top manager replaced."
And one of those managers? The person we asked for confirmation: Editor Ken Brusic, who has been with the paper in an editor's role since 1989 and the big enchilada since 1997. Sources tell us Brusic is falling on his own sword rather than implement the cuts Kushner demanded.
Photo by John Gilhooley Brusic, at his office, in 2012
Although we had many differences with Brusic over the years, he was always gracious to all--gracious enough that he sat down with me for my story on the Register's resurgence back in 2012. And one quote in particular now stands out, not just because it was prophetic, but also because it's downright ominous for the rest of us in newspapers.
"Whatever happens, it will not be the people of the newsroom who will be part of [any] failure of that enterprise," he responded when I asked Brusic if he thought Kushner's hiring-up policy could succeed. "I worry about everything. . . . If we can't succeed, it can't succeed anywhere else."
In Brusic's place will be Rob Curley, who joined the Register a couple of years ago as a digital whiz kid. I'll have more names and a bit on Curley soon--but first, Little Saigon beckons for lunch . . . After the jump, a list of reporters who are leaving.