Read the memo

Kushner announces new team at Register, explains 'restructuring' *

Thumbnail image for aarson-kushner-ocw.jpgThe Orange County Register shed more than 30 newsroom staffers today via layoffs, buyouts and retirement. The departing include editor Ken Brusic, as we noted earlier. It's all about restructuring for the future, including the Register's upcoming invasion of Los Angeles County, Kushner says. The "content team," as he puts it, is now 172 people larger than when he arrived, Kushner writes.

Donna Wares, previously announced as editor in charge of the LA Register, will become managing editor. By the way, if the Register's focus shifts to a worldview that its home turf is now LA and Orange counties — which would mean by default that LA takes precedence, given its bigger size and prominence — then its number of reporters would be far higher than the combined LANG newspapers or KPCC. If they still think of themselves as an OC paper branching out to LA, the number of boots on the ground here will be less significant.

To all associates:

When we came to the Register some 18 months ago, we made an explicit commitment that we were going to take the challenges and opportunities head-on to put our newspaper on a permanently profitable path of growth.

We are an institution dating back over 100 years, and in that time many talented journalists and business people have played their roles in assuring the vitality of our newspapers and our community.

Ken Brusic is certainly in the upper echelon of those people. Each of us have been touched by Ken in our own ways, often and likely in ways that will stay with us for a long time. With full and grateful hearts we thank Ken for his leadership, inspiration and dedication over two decades as he concludes his tenure this week as our Editor.

We also want to thank and recognize the contributions of Rebecca Allen, Terry Moore and Brenda Shoun who will be passing their leadership to a new team.

Congratulations to Rob Curley who will be our new Editor. Many of you already know and appreciate the energy, intelligence and heart that Rob brings every day.

Congratulations to our new senior content management team reporting to Rob:

Donna Wares will be our Managing Editor whose responsibilities will include overseeing the LA Register;

John Fabris will be our Deputy Editor/Operations; Steve Green will be our Assistant Managing Editor/Local;

Todd Harmonson will be our Assistant Managing Editor/Sports;

Helayne Perry will be our Assistant Managing Editor/Design;

Marcia Prouse will be our Assistant Managing Editor/Visuals;

and Jeff S. Miller will be heading our Features team.

This is quite a team of leaders. They will give everything they have to fulfill the promise of what the Register can be, leading one of the most talented newsrooms in the country.

As we finish our year, we take stock in all that we have accomplished. We evaluate what worked well and what did not. And then we prepare for making 2014 a year of profitable growth. Today we concluded a difficult but important restructuring of our OC Register content team that reflects our assessment of what our content team looks like to tackle the next phase of our growth in Orange County and LA County.

The 32 friends and colleagues leaving us have helped the Register navigate through some very challenging times. We are grateful for their service.

We enter 2014 with real opportunities and real challenges. We have significant continued opportunities in Orange County with growing subscription, local advertising and digital revenue as we work to hone and improve how we produce a great newspaper and the quality of that newspaper. We have significant new opportunities as we bring our brand of local, community building newspapering to Los Angeles with the LA Register.

We will start the next leg of our growth with approximately 370 content team members covering Orange County and LA County. This is up from 198 team members just eighteen months ago and makes our newsroom one of the largest metro newsrooms in the country. Over the past 18 months we have added more journalists to our team than every other newspaper in the country combined, and we have increased the breadth and depth of the value that we provide to our subscribers at a breathtaking pace.

On behalf of everyone in our business and in our community, thank you for your understanding, hard work and commitment. Let’s build on the foundation we’ve established to continue to grow in 2014.


Aaron Kushner

* 6 p.m. update: Here's the Register's story on the changes, outside the paywall. A salient part:

Since he joined the Register in 2012, Curley has overseen the expansion of local news coverage and the conversion of two dozen tabloid-size community weeklies into a larger broadsheet format.

Curley led the August launch of the Long Beach Register and is supervising the integration of The Press-Enterprise with the Register's news operations. Curley also is shepherding plans for the Los Angeles Register.

Kushner praised Curley's leadership in his memo to the newsroom. “Many of you already know and appreciate the energy, intelligence and heart that Rob brings every day,” he wrote.

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