Denial is not just a river in Egypt. According to OC Weekly, 66 experienced Register editors, columnists and reporters are leaving the paper accepting a buyout or face a possible layoff that could have totaled 100 people. And what’s not posted at OC Weekly is the elimination of freelance columnists and contributors like Newport Beach’s Barbara Venezia.
And in the midst of this devastation (there’s really no other word), the Register’s management team decided to throw a party to celebrate the expansion of Freedom Communications into the Los Angeles market. The party, posted and promoted on the Register’s Facebook page, was held at the House of Blues in Anaheim (kind of appropriate when you think about it).
Was this an Irish wake?
From the post:
“The Register is celebrating our expansion into LA and across Southern California with customers and business partners at House of Blues Anaheim tonight! Pictured from left to right: Ryan Cueva from Omega Events; Freedom VP of Revenue Mike Burns; Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish Taco.“
This sort of event is a couple of months late and it’s ill-timed to say the least. It was dumb.
I wish Register management would value the experience of some of these senior editors and reporters who have great institutional knowledge of Orange County, its political figures and its political past. The kids at the paper have a real opportunity to do a lot and learn a lot, but without the expectation that they’ll actually make a living wage here. No word on how many high pay business-side management team members resigned or might be let go, but the LA Register may have a shorter lifespan than the Long Beach Register or OC Post. Perhaps the best strategy for Freedom’s management team is to sell the chain to someone who actually knows quality journalism is what sells newspapers; not fluff.
Keep checking back with OC Weekly on updates on who else is leaving and try to ignore the petty side shots at some departing reporters. The fact is what’s happening with the Grey Lady of Grand Street is a tragedy.
The OC Press Club is taking the buyouts and furloughs to the next level by announcing these events in an email to members:
Bloodbath and Beyond
The board decided the appropriate way to respond to the buyouts at the Orange County Register is to, also quoting from “Animal House,” drink heavily. Therefore, our next event will be held Tuesday, June 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Lark Creek in Newport Beach. Please buy a newsperson a cocktail at “Bloodbath & Beyond,” as we toast scores heading for new careers. All are welcome. The restaurant management will extend Happy Hour for our group to closing time. Please say thanks.
Furlough Fridays Kick Off June 27
We also want to help out those who remain at the Register, but who must take two weeks of unpaid “fur-cations” by the end of July. Thus, we announce Furlough Fridays! The first is scheduled for 6 p.m., June 27 at Paul’s Cocktails in the Orange circle area. If you have a proposed location for July 11, 18 or 25, send it along (We’ll pass on July 4, figuring you’ll already be celebrating).