If Aaron Kushner Has His Way, Monday Will Leave OC Register W/Less Reporters Than When He Bought It: UPDATE
ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 3, 10:24 A.M.: The wheels are coming off Aaron Kushner's grand experiment with the Orange County Register--and fast. On Friday, the Orange County Business Journal broke the story that Kushner's Long Beach Register daily would turn into a weekly. Today, we can report the cuts are even more severe: mandatory two-week furloughs effective immediately through June and July at the OC Register, layoffs in the sales department (called a "restructuring"), and the offering of voluntary severance packages to reporters.
"Doing so will not be easy and will impact all of us, but it is necessary to ensure a strong and healthy future for our newspapers," Kushner wrote in a companywide email obtained by the Weekly. "Critics will try to say that we have failed. To the contrary, the failure would be if we did not try at all, or if in our measured success we did not adapt so that we could continue to invest in our growth."
More--much more--as this story develops...and remember, Register employees: anonymity guaranteed. Bring on those tips!
1ST UPDATE, JUNE 3, 1:49 P.M. The Weekly just obtained a memo sent out to its reporters today that's Kushner manifested: patronizing, demoralizing, smarmy, and just overall weak-sauce.
Among the highlights:
*An explanation that furloughs are sometimes called "unpaid leave or time off without pay." Um, DUH...
*A justification that furloughs "provides the immediate savings benefit we were seeking"--you know, before the axe falls again.
*Kushner claims that sales are up--but expenses are through the roof. Hence, the layoffs.
*During the furlough, reporters are barred from checking their work email, phones, notes--everything.
*To make it up to everyone, Kushner will provide "counseling, local community resources and financial counseling." Just buy everyone off with Maker's Mark...and now, the memo!