Tomorrow, our cover story will be one penned by yours truly, on the new ownership of the Orange County Register and whether their crazy plan to build up, not perpetually lay off, can both save Orange County's daily of record (and hilarious haters!) and journalism in the process. New owner Aaron Kushner (who's also publisher, and owner of parent company Freedom Communications) has kept true to his word by allowing the hiring of over 40 reporters already and planning for more–but his latest move to increase the Reg's reach is downright perplexing.
Instead of hiring even more reporters, Kushner is purchasing Churm Media, the publishers of such glossy, forgettable rags as OC Metro, OC Family–you know, those magazines you see at Subway, pick up while you wait for your foot-long, and put back on the rack.
I'm not trying to be mean–Churm Media namesake and publisher Steve Churm has always been nice to me–but I think the last relevant story OC Metro published was in 2003 (although they're not dumb over there–their monthly CEO centerfold idea is brilliant, and they were smart enough to put USC professor and one of our Best Of profiles, Jody Agius Vallejo, on their cover this spring).
Nevertheless, Kushner is hailing the acquisition as genius, as he's wont to do of anything he does (you'll see tomorrow…). “Steve Churm and the entire Churm Media team has done a fabulous job over multiple decades building a wealth of relationships and a portfolio of publications, websites, events and services that are robust, engaging and invaluable for Orange County,” he says in a press release. “We're excited to have the entire Churm Media team join with our own at the Orange County Register. We are looking forward to growing these terrific brands for the next generation, with an eye on how the Register can increase what we are providing to our subscribers, advertisers and Orange County as a whole.”
There are no plans for employee moves, and Churm is expected to stay on–his name is on the company, you know? But will Kushner keep the mags as they are? Will he grow them? Will he fold them into the Reg name? Is this the much-whispered about Sunday magazine he's promising to unveil? Only tine will tell…