‘Los Angeles Register’ Closing? Rumors Say Paper Could Be Out Of Business Soon

Well, that didn’t last long.

Local Los Angeles paper Portada is reporting that the Los Angeles Register may be closing its doors less than a year after its much celebrated launch.

In a story posted to its website, CEO Aaron Kushner of Freedom Communications — the owner of the Los Angeles Register and the Orange County Register further south — said he is evaluating the Los Angeles Register‘s viability.

“[Kushner] said that he will evaluate ‘in the next few weeks’ whether the Los Angeles Register has a viable future as a daily…. Kushner’s comments, which were made during an on-stage interview conducted by Portada publisher Marcos Baer during Portada’s 8th Annual Hispanic Advertising and Media Conference, are the first explicit references by Freedom Communications CEO about the possibility of discontinuing daily publication of the Los Angeles Register.”

The reversal comes after Kushner’s company has pumped literally millions of dollars into print newspapers with an aggressive expansion of the Orange County Register and later the introduction of the Los Angeles Register, which has some staffers worried it could close, L.A. Weekly reported.

The Weekly said Freedom Communications had been pouring money into reporting resources, but abruptly reversed course over the summer when it forced all employees across the company to take two weeks off without pay during the next two months. According to L.A. Weekly, that equaled about 25 percent of the pay employees expected to receive during that period.

With the latest word that Kushner is evaluating the Los Angeles Register’s closing, or at least its viability, one reporter who still has a job (buyouts also occurred over the summer during the furloughs) told L.A. Weekly that the unpaid time off killed the energy in the newsrooms across the company.

“I think we were all excited about the idea of the L.A. Register… But I think that the execution wasn’t always there and we kind of got hamstrung by the furloughs killing what momentum we had. And it sort of seems like we never got a chance to build that momentum back up.”

The possible Los Angeles Register closing is just the latest in a series of media downsizing, with many newspapers shedding staff to save on costs in a market defined by online advertising versus broadsheet advertising that had been the norm for much of the 20th century.

On of the most startling media layoffs in recent memory was in 2012, when The Times-Picayune in New Orleans fired half its staff and cut production, though a newspaper war in the city against the Baton Rouge Advocate has ramped up production again.

[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]