Los Angeles Register

In the last 10 months, Orange County Register parent Freedom Communications Inc. purchased the Riverside Press-Enterprise and launched two new papers, the Long Beach Register and Los Angeles Register. (Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times)

Stuart Pfeifer
June 9, 2014

Dozens of veteran journalists have applied for voluntary buyouts at the Orange County Register, and those who haven’t are bracing for layoffs in the latest sign that the daily paper’s expansion is faltering.

Register owner Aaron Kushner told a somber newsroom Monday that the paper’s revenue is growing but not as fast as he had anticipated when he bought the Register nearly two years ago.

“Contrary to popular speculation, we have not died and are not dying,” he said, according to a newsroom employee who attended the meeting.

Everybody wanted to believe Aaron when he rolled into town, dreaming of the resurgence of print. Unfortunately, the story is ending badly. – Jeff Brody, a Cal State Fullerton journalism professor and former Register reporter

Still, the cuts are expected to wipe out the staffing gains the paper made during a highly publicized hiring spree in 2012 and 2013, when Kushner bucked a nationwide trend of newsroom downsizing amid declining advertising revenue and circulation.

The downsizing comes shortly after the Register’s parent company expanded its Southern California presence. In the last 10 months, Freedom Communications Inc. bought the Riverside Press-Enterprise and launched two papers, the Long Beach Register and Los Angeles Register.

In January, Freedom Communications laid off 71 employees in a move management called “a difficult but important restructuring.”

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