With the Los Angeles Register, Will Owner Aaron Kushner Meet His Waterloo?

Yesterday, Orange County Register owner Aaron Kushner announced to his workers that he plans to debut next month the LA Register, a daily that'll circulate throughout the Los Angeles area and he promises will be bigger than the Los Angeles Times. Man, would I have loved to been there to see the looks on the faces of his reporters: of shock in hearing their owner expand yet again after opening a paper in Long Beach and buying the Riverside Press-Enterprise despite losing millions of dollars, of bewilderment when Kushner announced he wouldn't be hiring more reporters for this LA experiment but rather staff from within the OC Register, of dread in finally realizing their Pied Piper is to--excuse the French--bat-shit loco.

The story (unsurprisingly left outside the Reg's paywall) by Kushner's stenographer, reporter Mary Ann Milbourn, hails the move as allowing the paper to blanket the entirety of Southern California with three distinct additions and the P-E. But what Milbourn doesn't mention is that Kushner's move is like history repeating itself all over again. Us old folks still remember when, at the height of daily journalism's reach, the Times printed separate editions for the Valley, San Diego, LA, and Orange County, with resources far more vast than whatever Kushner's mysterious funders may have. The most epic one of those was the OC edition, staffed with hundreds of reporters at a time when the Times hired some of the best journalists in the country and the brand was golden--and not only did Times-Mirror NOT succeed in bringing down the Reg, it died an ignoble death.

And Kushner expects to succeed with an LA Reg? HAHAHAHA! The Times' move into OC was hailed by the county's liberal and intellectual class; the Register's reputation in LA remains trash, so that'll be the first, huge hurdle Kushner needs to jump. Most LAers still think the Hoiles run the paper, so the Reg's libertarian perspective is just another insurmountable millstone Kushner will have to face. Most importantly, if Kushner plans to stock his LA paper with OC Register writers, that means a combination of dinosaurs who haven't covered anything other than Orange County for over a decade, and cub scribes who only know LA from pigging out at Würstkuche because they still think no culture exists in OC. So much for blanketing OC with the best possible coverage, Aaron!

We'll see where we are next year, of course, but wethinks Kushner will meet his Waterloo in LA...sounds like fun!

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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