Back in 2013, at the height of the Orange County Register's much-ballyhooed hiring spree, we did a blog post criticizing the paper's lack of diversity in expanding the paper, especially in getting next-to-no Latinos. And that situation has gotten even worse, with the departure of editor Theresa Cisneros and crime reporter Salvador Hernández.
Hernandez had been with the Register for a decade, moving up over the years from being a cub reporter to a Lake Forest one to his most recent stint. He left to join Buzzfeed, which under Latino coverage editor Adrian Carrasquillo is wooing an entire generation of wab talent away from the dailies (another recent great hire for them: former Los Angeles Times reporter Adolfo Flores). Hernández will cover breaking news for Buzzfeed, and work in the LA bureau alongside former colleague Claudia Koerner. His great coverage will be missed.
The loss of Cisneros, however, is far more telling of the Reg's institutional woes. Not only is Cisneros a native OCer, but her family's been in SanTana since before World War II. Not only had Cisneros been with the paper since 1999, it's the only journalism job she's ever had. Cisneros mentored dozens of reporters over the years, and moved up the ranks from a news assistant to her last position as "team leader," the weak-ass Register title for what should more accurately be described as associate editor, a position she had been promoted to in August.
And, still, she left, leaving on her own accord "to focus on my family and community," according to a Facebook post.
Cisneros was an important part of the Reg, not just for her abilities but also her respected status in OC's Latino community, as she consistently argued for more and better coverage in her paper's pages. Yet Register leadership always stymied her efforts, first by ending the popular OC Latino Link blog she and longtime editor Ron Gonzales used to edit, then by ending the Santa Ana Register's weekly edition, a paper that Cisneros enlivened with community columnists and great cultural coverage of the city. But, hey: disrespecting Latina reporters ain't no thing for the Reg, you know?
We wish both Cisneros and Hernández well, and pose this to new-ish Register publisher Rich Mirman: if you lose people like them, you're losing the paper. Don't lose the paper.