Laid-Off OC Register Workers Respond to Aaron Kushner Calling Their Layoffs a "Reset"!

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Last Friday, sources and people affected let me know that the Orange County Register had just laid off people in their sales department, with figures ranging from a believable six to an unbelievable 70. So we went straight to the top: owner Aaron Kushner and his Minister of Information, Eric Morgan. To his credit, Kushner responded pretty quickly; to his discredit, he launched into full-on spin mode of the worst kind, the Orwellian Doublespeak that newspaper executives have made into a black art.

"We're hiring sales people right now- [sic] there were not 70 people laid off yesterday," Kushner wrote via email. "We reset a small part of our internal sales team as we grow our overall and field sales team."

Um, what? Man, I'd prefer Kushner say "Layoffs?" in the same tone former Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora did years ago instead of his weak-ass response.

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LA Register Reporter Jumps to Rival Paper Before Reg Even Debuts

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Updated, with a response by England-Nelson (note the regal hyphen!) at the bottom...

ORIGINAL POST, 7:33 A.M. The Orange County Register's daily newspaper for Los Angeles is scheduled to debut April 16, and already its reporters are trying to jump ship, already souring on owner Aaron Kushner's ambitious plans. Want proof? One of the Los Angeles Register's prized youngsters is jumping ship to the rival Los Angeles Newspaper Group's (LANG) Torrance Daily Breeze.

Whoopsie-doodle!

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OC Register to Debut Newer, "Freer" Paywall

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Fluting the cash away...
In a desperate bid to stop their revenue free-fall, the Orange County Register announced today the debut of a new paywall to replace the one it erected about a year ago, the one that owners swore would be impenetrable but has become increasingly porous as of late.

This new paywall promises to revolutionize the newspaper industry, says Register Minister of Information Eric Morgan: it's going to be "freer."

A free paywall? Let Morgan explain.

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Is the OC Register's Paywall Coming Down? Magic 8-Ball Says "Signs Point to Yes"

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It's almost the one-year anniversary of the Orange County Register erecting a paywall on its website, a paywall that owners Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz swore was strict, swore would never go down, swore was impenetrable--indeed, Spitz told his own paper "there will be no way to 'game' the system."

Unless, of course, the Register games the system on its own. Because the dirty little secret with the Reg's website nowadays is that it's harder to find a story behind the paywall than one that readers can view for free.

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OC Register Co-Owner Eric Spitz Thinks He's the Only Person Ever to Grow Up in House Shared by 2 Families

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Meanwhile, Kushner continues to piper along...
Here at Navel Gazing, we're always trashing Orange County Register owner and publisher Aaron Kushner for his attempts to save journalism with his shiny, happy, comfort-the-comforted approach to newspaper-dom. We rarely talk about the other owner of the Reg: Eric Spitz, a guy who maybe we should pay more attention to, since the few times he has spoken makes him come off as even more out of touch with reality than Kushner.

Take, for instance, a recent puff piece by the Register's Minister of Information, Eric Morgan. Morgan summed up what he called a "rare glimpse" into the lives of Kushner and Spitz by detailing the information offered at a Feb. 19 panel sponsored by the Irvine Chamber of Commerce. There, Spitz offered a bizarre anecdote: he said he grew up in a household shared by two families (his nuclear family, and that of his aunt, uncle and cousins), and that he's never met any two families ever sharing similar circumstances.

WTF?

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OC Register Lose Columnists David Whiting & Frank Mickadeit, No One Cares

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Illustration by Patrick O'Conner
Whiting the Bootlicker
If you want to know how relevant large sections of the Orange County Register remain to good journalism in Southern California, one need look no further than last month, when the paper's two marquee columnists, Frank Mickadeit and David Whiting, announced they were leaving their posts--Mickadeit, to become a full-time lawyer, Whiting to restart as an editor.

And Orange County responded with a giant...yawn. Good, because that's the best farewell those two hacks deserved.

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An Open Letter to OC Register Lawyers

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Best Of, OC Weekly-style
Gentlemen,

I was hoping you could take a minute away from your morning break of drinking the blood of unclaimed babies to read this tip I believe you will find most helpful.

I am a staff writer at OC Weekly, an Orange County newspaper that was the recipient of letters from you dating back to our early days insisting that we stop using the phrase "Best of OC" because, in your opinion, it created market confusion with your "Best of Orange County" brand.

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Gustavo's Latest KCRW "Orange County Line": On the OC Register Layoffs

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What else can I say about the Orange County Register layoffs that I haven't already? Actually, a lot. The Register is supposed to have a staff party this week--oh, the timing! And they just bought throwaway rags that cover the Manhattan Beach area, in Reg owner Aaron Kushner's continuing efforts to try and conquer the Los Angeles region--OY VEY...

I talked about Kushner's strategy in my latest "Orange County Line" commentary for KCRW-FM 89.9 this past Monday, with guest host Eric Roy.

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Read the Hilarious, Grammatically Incorrect Letter the OC Register Sent to Subscriber Angry They Laid Off Reporters

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The fallout from Orange County Register owner Aaron Kushner's axing of 32 staffers last week is still swirling up Grand Street. Yesterday, New York Times media reporter David Carr took Kushner to the proverbial woodshed for his mysterious ambitions. And today, we receive the following email, sent to a former subscriber who canceled her Sunday paper in anger after all the layoffs. The reader (who asked for anonymity) asked that the subscription end immediately. Instead, the reader was given a laughable sales pitch that seemed penned by Kushner's Minister of Information, Eric Morgan--except Morgan knows how to use apostrophes and grammar in spinning shit.

The email follows:

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OC Register Owner Aaron Kushner Didn't Have the Balls to Lay Off 32 Staffers in Person--He Had Others Do It

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I have had the displeasure of laying people off in my time as a manager of some sorts. It's gut-wrenching. It's horrible. It's dickish. But I've done it because the poor soul whose career I'm about to disrupt deserves to hear it in person from the boss who's axing him or her.

Can someone please tell this basic tenet of manhood to Orange County Register owner Aaron Kushner? Last Thursday, the man who would save journalism jolted the newspaper world by pushing out--either via buyout, forced resignation or flat-out layoff--32 reporters, editors and designers. Now, some of those affected are telling the Weekly exactly how it went down--without Kushner being enough of a man to do the dirty deed himself.

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