Inland Empire

Register to lay off 39 more at Riverside P-E

A second round of layoffs at the Riverside Press-Enterprise since the purchase last fall by Freedom Communications includes 39 back-office, newsroom, information technology and production workers, the OC Register reports. The story explains that the newsroom losses involve "eight full-time and four part-time copy editor/designers," but that some expected hiring of new reporters will even it out with "no net loss of jobs in the newsroom."

Last month, the new Freedom management team in Riverside laid off 42 employees as part of the paper's restructuring. That reduction included some newsroom positions.

labj-grab-kushner.jpgIn this week's Los Angeles Business Journal, Freedom boss Aaron Kushner again says his upcoming LA Register newspaper will distinguish itself from the Los Angeles Times by its free market and libertarian views on the opinion page. There will apparently be three daily opinion pages. I think the more relevant question is how will the Register differ from the LANG newspapers, which may be its actual competition for readers. The LANG editorial pages are already more to the right than the Times' page.

On news, Kushner's spin is that the Times is a national paper and the Register will be a local paper. Except that's kind of BS. The Register's LA staff of reporters will likely be smaller than the LAT's local staff of reporters. The reporters sent up from OC may be good, but they won't come with more deeply local sources or a reputation as being necessarily better reporters. So more likely the Register types will have to pick their spots on which stories to tackle, and to make a splash will aim for low-hanging fruit — meaning they also will leave a lot out. They may not only be too thin to run with the Times, the Register will have fewer reporters and other assets on the ground here than KPCC does. Kushner likes to frame the battle as with the Times, but I think we should all wait and see first how they do against KPCC and the Daily News et al. The OC raiders aren't exactly wowing people in Long Beach, from what I've heard. And if the Register's LA web content is behind a paywall, really, who will ever see it? Are there that many potential newspaper subscribers here who are just waiting for something that's not the Times or the LANG papers, or free like KPCC or the LA Weekly? Show me.

I expect a big splash of enthusiasm and flakkery when the Register launches, and I hope they succeed and become a figure on the LA scene — the more newspapers the merrier, as long as they're not jokes or ideological tools. But as for actual impact on the Los Angeles market, let's wait and see. In the LABJ story, by the way, Kushner won't say when the LA Register launches.

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