The LA Times and the LA Observed are reporting that Freedom Communications’s LA Register will “cease publication immediately”. Their website is still operational, but the writing was on the wall months ago when they cut back to a weekly publication. Today’s Times’ lead:
The Los Angeles Register, which launched in April as part Aaron Kushner’s bold bet on print newspapers, will cease publication, effective immediately. Orange County Register co-owner Aaron Kushner announced the decision Monday night in a memo sent to employees. “Pundits and local competitors who have closely followed our entry into Los Angeles will be quick to criticize our decision to launch a new newspaper and they will say that we failed,” said the memo, signed by Kushner and his Freedom Communications co-owner Eric Spitz.
The great Register reporter Doug Irving posted on Facebook this a.m. that he’d been laid off, as did Susan Gill Vardon. OC Weekly is posting more names here. Gustavo Arellano’s extensive story on Freedom’s continuing troubles is here. In part,
…what forced Kushner’s hand to shut down his LA rag so relatively soon, according to sources, wasn’t the daunting task of trying to open a new newspaper in the 21st century–he’s shown time and time again he’ll burn millions of dollars for the hell of it. Nope, the final push came in the form of the angry bill collector that is the Los Angeles Times…Kushner owed the Times millions of dollars for them distributing the LA and OC Register, a fact verified by higher-ups on Spring Street. When I asked Kushner about it then, he only said that the Times had “never stopped distributing” the Orange County Register, not outright denying he owed them cash.
Our graphic above is taken from the OC Weekly.
Per the OC Business Journal story, “The losangelesregister.com website will continue to publish content of “specific interest to Los Angeles and the region, such as real estate, food, concerts or Lakers basketball.” We were also curious about Freedom’s other red-headed stepchild — per this link, “Want even more Long Beach? We’ve got you covered – in digital, as well as print. Our new website – lbregister.com – will launch in September”.
It’s certain the many are wondering when Freedom’s and Kushner’s “flagship” Orange County Register will be going belly up. They’ve closed on the $27 million sale of their Santa Ana headquarters building, and it was reported that the proceeds from it were already spoken for. Our subscription to it is long cancelled, primarily as Kushner was asking over $40/month for it (by comparison, not that we’d recommend it, the LA Times is about $5/week).