Updated throughout the day at the end of the post…
ORIGINAL POST, Sept. 24, 11:01 A.M.: You know how they say that death comes in threes? There was the passing of comedy legends Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, and Eric the Actor this summer, and now comes the Orange County Register. On Friday, news broke that the Reg sold its building; late last night, owner Aaron Kushner announced to staff that the Los Angeles Register was shutting down.
And now comes news–no, seriously, like right NOW; emails are flooding my inbox from sources–of layoffs at the mothership and beyond. How many? No word yet, but a trusted source says to expect "tons."
Here's the list we have so far. Any additions or subtractions will be listed here.
Morgan Cook, investigative reporter: Came up from San Diego in 2012, part of the vaunted first wave of hires. Good reporter.
Bill Johnson, columnist: Another much-vaunted hire, who came with controversy. Was a columnist for the OC Reg before being moved up to the Los Angeles edition.
Doug Irving, North County reporter: Awesome, awesome reporter who used to raise hell in SanTana. His Facebook post put it thusly, and you'll see a lot of current Reg employees express their shock:
Susan Gill Vardon, editor: Longtime editor.
Antonio Morales, sports reporter: Wrote for OC Varsity. His tweet:
Well, everybody, today was my last day at the Register. Thanks to everybody for reading and following these past few years.
— Antonio Morales (@AntonioCMorales) September 23, 2014
See also: Aaron Kushner's Wrecking Ball
Devin Ugland, sports reporter: From his Twitter account:
Man down! I dodged as many bullets as I could, but this one got me. Had a great time covering sports for the OC Register, but that's a wrap.
— Devin Ugland (@Devin_Ugland) September 23, 2014
Ryah Cooley, Costa Mesa reporter: Had just come down from the LA Register, and formerly of the Long Beach Register.
Nicole Gregory, Los Angeles Register city editor: For the obvious reason that there is no LA Reg anymore.
John Fabris, deputy editor:: Recently helped out in the sports department.
Will D'urso, LA Register real estate reporter:
No clue who he is… Interned at the Los Angeles Times and Las Vegas Sun before joining the Reg. Well-liked by people who have worked with him.
deputy editor of some sorts: Worked for the OC Register and Riverside Press-Enterprise. His tweet:
— Evan Lancaster (@ELancaster2014) September 23, 2014
Josh Morgan, photographer trainee: Is Kushner getting rid of the kiddies, too?
Anibal Ortiz, photographer trainee: Welp, so much for the Reg training the next generation of photographers…
Freda Freeman, city editor: Been with the paper for 14 years.
Foster Snell, photographer: And the hits just keep coming for the photography section…
Scott Albert, A-1 and sports section designer: This one irked my sources, one of whom just threw out a bunch of "stupids" because they were so mad at it.
Eric Hartley, courts reporter: Not even six months on the job, if I'm remembering correctly. Was proving to be a good one–and now, nothing.
Richard Chang, arts critic: Longtime arts critic for the paper, good guy. With him gone, the Reg now has no full-time arts critic (although they do have a theater and classical music guy…for now).
Greg Lipford, copy editor: Helped to run the online home page as well.
And the list goes on…
These came in last night:
Michael Sragow, film critic: Part of the Much Ballyhooeds of 2012. The culture section for the Reg is now decimated.
Pat Maio, business reporter: Was with Long Beach Register until that shuttered, then came to the mothership. Recently helped out on the Reg's Long March of editorial endorsements.
Greg Mellen, writer: Formerly with Long Beach Register, then went to LA Register
Katie Quattro: Anyone know who she is? Good source gave me the name…and that's about it.
And NOT laid off, although my sources gave me this name: Anna Iliff, one of the Reg's cub reporters. She is leaving the paper on Friday, but is not getting laid off; rather, she's leaving on her own accord to a job at UCI. And if Kushner can't keep the next generation of reporters, then what hope is there?
UPDATE, SEPT. 25, 8:50 A.M.: Got even more names overnight, for a total so far of 27 laid off, with two folks leaving on their own terms at the same time (and we hear two young reporters letting their contract run out just before then)–and even more expected once Aaron Kushner figures out what the fuck he's doing. The list continues…
Cathy Taylor and David Hood, Washington correspondents: I had heard these two names but couldn't confirm them; LA Observed got the scoop. Hood hadn't been with the Reg too long; Taylor was an institution, with a career going back to 1983 that eventually found her in the Opinion and Commentary section in the 1990s, where she'd stay until 2011, when she left for arch-conservative Human Events. She returned to helm Kushner's DC bureau last year, and leaves again, along with Hood.
Victor Posadas, Blaine Ohigashi, Melina Pizano, photographers: All what the Reg calls "trainees" aka cub serfs. From Posadas' Facebook:
David Creamer, photo editor NOT a layoff, as he left on his own volition just before the layoffs happened for unknown reasons. Helped to launch the expanded version of the Newport Beach and Costa Mesa weeklies, the Long Beach Register and ended up at the LA version.
More–much more–as this story develops…and remember, Register employees: anonymity guaranteed. Bring on those tips!