Last Friday, sources and people affected let me know that the Orange County Register had just laid off people in their sales department, with figures ranging from a believable six to an unbelievable 70. So we went straight to the top: owner Aaron Kushner and his Minister of Information, Eric Morgan. To his credit, Kushner responded pretty quickly; to his discredit, he launched into full-on spin mode of the worst kind, the Orwellian Doublespeak that newspaper executives have made into a black art.
“We're hiring sales people right now- [sic] there were not 70 people laid off yesterday,” Kushner wrote via email. “We reset a small part of our internal sales team as we grow our overall and field sales team.”
Um, what? Man, I'd prefer Kushner say “Layoffs?” in the same tone former Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora did years ago instead of his weak-ass response.
So we went back to one of the workers who got laid off for their response to Kushner's “reset” comment. Here's the most polite response:
He always tries to downplay serious things that happen. The numbers I heard from reliable sources is 70. I would consider small anything under 10, especially for a paper that keeps on dwindling so quickly. These outside reps aren't hitting their numbers either. Hardly anyone in sales, period, is hitting their goal. Why the fuck would you expand such a sales force?
They have no clue when it comes to running a successful sales force. To top it off they are extremely disorganized. When they were saying they had a launch date for LA Register, they didn't even have the fucking rate sheets done for the sales force. Then when they got them to us, they always had them wrong.
It was frustrating to make sales because of all the drama that followed due to their chaotic nature. Sales were hard to get and when you did, you only upset a big number of the customers when what was promised was never delivered to them. Where are the possibilities for growth in all this?
I also heard they hardly have advertisers for LA Register and Aaron is scared shitless (from a source that told me about the layoff a day before it happen.)
Tell Aaron that what he's saying is bullshit. What he is doing is obvious, it's economics 101: contracting, which shows a business in decline. He's contracting by eliminating positions in sales and management. Then he has one manager in charge of all these departments which makes the chaos even worse…So he doesn't always contract by laying off employees, sometimes just by playing chess and moving the pieces around hoping it will work. We were moved around too before they let us go.
They're so out of touch there. Aaron and Eric [Spitz, Kushner's co-owner] really believed they were the next Mark Zuckerberg of newspapers. They can shove their “reset” button in their assholes.