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OC Register says more than 30 employees and its editor are leaving the paper

The newsroom of the Orange County Register.
The newsroom of the Orange County Register.
Grant Slater/KPCC

The Orange County Register said Thursday that about three dozen people, including its executive editor are leaving its staff.

Editor Ken Brusic will be exiting the paper and Rob Curley will become the new Editor, wrote Publisher Aaron Kushner in a staff memo. Curley lists his title as deputy editor/local on his LinkedIn page.

"Today we concluded a difficult but important restructuring of our OC Register content team that reflects our assessment of what our content team looks like to tackle the next phase of our growth in Orange County and LA County," Kushner wrote in the memo.

The timing of the job cuts come as the Register’s parent company, Freedom Communications Inc., plans to launch the Los Angeles Register, a new daily paper that will cover the entire Los Angeles area.

Kushner said in his memo that they will have a staff of about 370 content team members covering Orange and Los Angeles counties during its next leg of growth, up from 198 members 18 months ago. 

"As we finish our year, we take stock in all that we have accomplished," Kushner wrote. "We evaluate what worked well and what did not. And then we prepare for making 2014 a year of profitable growth."

The Register was often seen as an anomaly to the challenges affecting print media. At a time when other newspaper newsrooms were making job cuts, the Register touted it was hiring people. Last May, when KPCC asked Aaron Kushner if there were going to be layoffs, he noted the paper was hiring people.

Media consultant Alan Mutter said it's possible the recent job cuts could be economically driven or editorially driven, or both. 

"There could be simply an issue that the publisher doesn’t like the editorial content, that he wants different people to do things in a different way," Mutter said.

Register spokesman Eric Morgan did not immediately respond to KPCC's questions on the criteria on how the company selected which jobs would be affected by the restructuring.  

Below is the full memo that was sent to the staff:

OC Register Memo