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Daily Archives: January 16, 2014

Orange County Register owner and publisher Aaron Kushner confirms in a memo that 32 newsroom employees were laid off today, and that Ken Brusic and other top editors have resigned. (I’m told they quit in protest of the layoffs.)

Local editor Rob Curley has been promoted to top editor.

Kushner’s memo:

To all associates:

When we came to the Register some 18 months ago, we made an explicit commitment that we were going to take the challenges and opportunities head-on to put our newspaper on a permanently profitable path of growth.

We are an institution dating back over 100 years, and in that time many talented journalists and business people have played their roles in assuring the vitality of our newspapers and our community.

Aaron Kushner

Aaron Kushner

Ken Brusic is certainly in the upper echelon of those people. Each of us have been touched by Ken in our own ways, often and likely in ways that will stay with us for a long time. With full and grateful hearts we thank Ken for his leadership, inspiration and dedication over two decades as he concludes his tenure this week as our Editor.

We also want to thank and recognize the contributions of Rebecca Allen, Terry Moore and Brenda Shoun who will be passing their leadership to a new team.

Congratulations to Rob Curley who will be our new Editor. Many of you already know and appreciate the energy, intelligence and heart that Rob brings every day./CONTINUES Read More

A reporter for Gannett’s KSDK-TV in St. Louis walked into Kirkwood High School this afternoon and told a school secretary he wanted to speak with security. He gave his name and phone number, but didn’t mention that he was a reporter.
ksdk
While the secretary tried to find a “school resource officer,” the reporter left the office, then failed to answer his phone when the school called. The Post-Dispatch reports: “This initiated the lockdown around 1:15 p.m. Students were huddled in locked classrooms with the lights off for about 40 minutes.”

KSDK says on its website and Facebook page that “this lock down certainly was not the intent of our visit.” The station adds that “when the security official could not be reached, our employee left the premises without escort.” It doesn’t explain why he failed to answer the phone when the school called.

There was a lockdown at Kirkwood High last month when breaking light bulbs were mistaken for gunfire.

* Man who prompted lockdown was a KSDK staffer (stltoday.com)
* KSDK statement regarding today’s school lockdown (ksdk.com)
* Mom: “My son was given scissors and told to kill the person” (facebook.com)


bitch2

A few of the comments below the NPR post:

* “Did npr just say ‘bitch?'”

* “Pushing for more clicks with that text, NPR? I’m disappointed.”

* “I’m not offended by vulgar language, but I feel you took the easy way out, and perhaps for shock value, and that saddens me for journalism.”

* “Fire your intern. This isn’t buzzfeed or gawker.”

* “woah NPR is cussing. I like it. Fuck yeah”

* Read NPR’s post and comments about the use of “bitch” (facebook.com; h/t Bill Cooke)

appshed

* via @StuffJournalistsLike | The Daily Examiner is published in Grafton, New South Wales, Australia.


UPDATE: Publisher Aaron Kushner has put out a memo about today’s layoffs and newsroom changes.

———-

Many reports about Orange County Register layoffs are coming my way:

* OCweekly.com: OC Register to lay off several people today. [UPDATE: About 35 32 newsroom employees were let go, I’m told.]

* “It’s true,” writes an tipster who sends this link. “Layoffs are ongoing.”
paper
* Another email tipster: “Ken Brusic and his entire inner circle out at OC Register, he’s being replaced by Rob Curley. Buncha layoffs, too, even as the paper prepares to expand into Los Angeles.”

Update: “Brusic and his top folks – at least three deputy editors, I believe – resigned” in protest of the layoffs and weren’t pink-slipped, I’m told. “They are still in the newsroom today. The rest of us who were laid off are not allowed in the newsroom.”

If you have solid information, please pass it along. I’ll keep you anonymous.

UPDATE: Here’s what current and former Register staffers are passing along —

* “Just got laid off by the Register,” Faith and Values columnist Cathleen Falsani Possley writes on Facebook.

* “I was laid off today from the Orange County Register, along with 35 or so other people,” writes data journalist Ron Campbell. “Many of them, like me, had been there for years. Time for another chapter.”

* Travel editor Gary Warner writes on Facebook: “Gone! Register laid me off today. A head-scratcher coming off one of our best years financially and with lots of awards. … Sad, perplexed, proud and relieved all at once.”

* “It’s a blood bath at OCR. Nearly every top manager replaced.”

* “Estimates of about three dozen editorial staffers canned.”

* “There will be a general announcement about layoffs at 2 p.m. PST.”

- via ocweekly.com

– via ocweekly.com

* “The budget for freelance high school [sports] coverage has been frozen, which surprised me since one of [publisher Aaron] Kushner’s big selling points is being local and doing things other news groups can’t or won’t.”

* “I have a friend who works at the [OC Register sister paper] Riverside Press-Enterprise. He says he’s been told that copy desk functions for Riverside are moving to OC in 60 days, and editors will have to apply for a job in OC.”

* Aug. 2013: OC Register owner bets heavily on print, doubles staff and adds pages (latimes.com)
* Dec. 2012: Can Aaron Kushner save the Orange County Register? (ocweekly.com)

aolstock

* AOL shares up on news that Patch was sold to a turnaround specialist (yahoo.com)
* Patch may longer be in the news business (whatburnsmybacon.com)
* Earlier: AOL sells a majority stake in Patch to a tech investment firm (usatoday.com)

The story below is from the University of Delaware Review. It appears that reporter Tracy Bauman was on the Chris Christie beat in 1983. (She covered the Undergraduate Student Congress, which Christie presided over 30 years ago.)


I think you want them to drink less, not more (from Crain’s)
cubs
* A two-drink minimum for a family-friendly environment? (chicagobusiness.com – h/t Bill Kissinger)

* Charleston (WV) Daily Mail sells its URL to UK’s Daily Mail. (digiday.com)
* Wall Street Journal reporter David Bird has been missing since Saturday. “This is so unlike him it’s unbelievable to me,” says a friend. (wsj.com)
* New Jersey bridge scandal shows the importance of aggressive local journalism. (washingtonpost.com)
* Patrick Seitz: “Yahoo News Digest is worse than HuffPo when it comes to taking information from other media organizations.” (techmediatainment.blogspot.com)
gate* Rem Rieder: Please stop attaching -gate to every scandal that comes around! (usatoday.com) | (ragingwisdom.com) | Eric Zorn: “What these scolds miss is that ‘-gate’ is now used with an ironic wink.” (chicagotribune.com) | -ghazi or -gate? (nationaljournal.com)
* PR advice for water-poisoner Freedom Industries: (charlestondailymail.com)
* Politico’s Mike Allen: “I’m a straight shooter.” WaPo’s Erik Wemple: “I’m not a person with a lot of anger in my veins.” (nytimes.com)
* Just-launched Newspeg is “unabashedly inspired by Pinterest.” (recoveringjournalist.typepad.com) | Check out Romenesko’s news bloopers and fun stuff on Pinterest. (pinterest.com)
* Rusty Foster‘s newsletter lets you know who to hate on Twitter today. (niemanlab.org)
* Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corp. freezes pensions and increases contributions to employees’ 401(k) plans. (capitalnewyork.com)
* A Q&A with RebelMouse founder Paul Berry: (wsj.com)
* Andrew Sullivan: “Take this as my last pitch for getting the Dish finally off the ground.” (andrewsullivan.com)
* More layoffs at Aaron Kushner‘s Riverside Press-Enterprise. (laobserved.com)