The Orange County Register
The December 7, 2005 front page of The Register
|Publisher||Aaron Kushner |
|Headquarters||625 North Grand Avenue
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(Subscription required to view)
The Register was founded by a consortium as the Santa Ana Daily Register in 1905. It was sold to J.P. Baumgartner in 1906 and to J. Frank Burke in 1927. In 1935 it was bought by R.C. Hoiles, who renamed it the Santa Ana Register and reorganized his holdings as Freedom Newspapers, Inc., in 1950, later Freedom Communications. The paper dropped "Santa Ana" from its title in 1952.
In 1956, the newspaper was a prominent supporter of a vociferous campaign by anti-communists against the Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act, claiming that it was part of a Communist plot to establish concentration camps in Alaska.
Circulation rose with the burgeoning population of Orange County and after the Register added a morning edition in 1959. In 1970 Hoiles' son, Clarence, became co-publisher with his brother[clarification needed] Harry until 1979, when R. David Threshie, Clarence's son-in-law, was named to the position.
Faced with an aggressive push into the county by the Los Angeles Times under then-publisher Otis Chandler, Threshie brought in 30-year-old N. Christian Anderson III as editor. Political positions were restricted to the editorial page. In 1981, the paper began publishing in full color.
In 1985, the paper assumed its current name, The Orange County Register. In the same year it won its first Pulitzer Prize, for its photographic coverage of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. It won additional Pulitzers in 1989 for beat reporting by Edward Humes on U.S. military problems with night-vision goggles and in 1996 for an investigation into Ricardo Asch's fertility clinics.
In 1992, Orange County Register Communications launched Excélsior, a Spanish-language weekly. In 2010 Excélsior had a circulation of 51,000. It covers Orange County's growing Hispanic community, which now numbers over a million. Julio Saenz is the editor and general manager.
In 1999, Threshie became Chairman of the Board of Freedom Communications, and N. Christian Anderson III assumed the position of publisher and chief executive officer. Ken Brusic was named vice president of content and executive editor in April 2002.
In 2004, a family schism led to a sale of a majority interest in Freedom Communications to investors led by the Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners. Through a stock arrangement, the Hoiles family descendants retained control of the board.
In 2006, Orange County Register Communications launched the OC Post, a tabloid with shortened versions of Register stories as well as news articles from the Associated Press. The paper also had its first significant staff reductions in December 2006, with 40 newsroom employees taking buyouts, along with a small number of layoffs.
By April 2007, The Orange County Register had made cuts to help maintain shareholder profit, which had averaged more than 20 percent annually in the preceding five years. Since the launch of the OC Post in 2006, OCRC[clarification needed] has cut the Register's editorial staff by 10 percent, eliminated its 3% holiday bonuses for editorial staff. and postponed pay raises to editorial staff, which had averaged 3 percent annually, for six months. In September 2007, Terry Horne replaced N. Christian Anderson III as publisher.
In June 2008, KTLA, The Los Angeles Times and Fox News reported that the Register had begun a one-month trial of outsourcing some layout and copy-editing work to India to save costs. The trial was not deemed a success, and since then editing has been done by the Register in Orange County. In spring of 2009, Freedom Communications instituted furloughs for all employees nationwide, followed by a permanent 5% pay cut starting in July 2009. News reports in August 2009 indicated that Freedom Communications planned to file for bankruptcy and turn control of its publications, including The Orange County Register, over to its lenders.
In September 2009, a column written by sports columnist Mark Whicker caused controversy. In the column, Whicker wrote about various sporting events that had occurred over the preceding 18 years, and how they had been missed by Jaycee Dugard, a girl who had been kidnapped, raped, and forced to bear her kidnapper's children. Whicker ended his column with the line "Jaycee, you have left the yard." The column generated widespread criticism and was parodied in blogs such as Deadspin, who called it "the single worst piece of journalism ever committed on this page," and the Huffington Post.
On July 25, 2012 The Orange County Register and six other papers were purchased by 2100 Trust LLC. The papers continued to operate under the Freedom Communications name.
A lawsuit was filed in October 2013 by the former owners of Freedom Communications against Aaron Kushner, principal of 2100 Trust, demanding that Kushner's company pay more than $17 million remaining on the sale. According to the Los Angeles Times, Kushner claimed that the prior owners had given him "inaccurate valuations for a host of crucial financial indicators" and that he faced "$62.3 million in unexpected financial liabilities as a result." Kushner is "a former greeting-card executive with no prior media experience," the Times said.
The Register is notable for its generally libertarian-leaning editorial page. Although it sometimes supports Republican politicians and positions, it is the largest newspaper in the country to have opposed the Iraq war from the beginning and opposes laws regulating issues such as prostitution and drug use. It was one of a handful of newspapers that opposed the internment of Japanese aliens and Japanese-Americans during World War II. It also opposed Proposition 8 in 2008, which proposed a ban on same-sex marriage.
On April 1, 2013, The Orange County Register began providing its online content through a metered paywall. Most online content requires a subscription, except for local weather, traffic, Associated Press or non-Register articles, and a few select local news articles.
- "Aaron Kushner named Publisher of Orange County Register Communications" The Orange County Register, August 3, 2012
- Saba, Jennifer (28 April 2008). "New FAS-FAX: Steep Decline at 'NYT' While 'WSJ' Gains". Editor & Publisher. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.[dead link]
- Graham, Harry L., Stop the Damned Presses!, pp.183–6, Words & Pictures Press, Clearwater, FL, 2005.
- "Updated Excélsior Statistics for 2010". Echo Media.
- "Executive Leadership". The Orange County Register. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- "OC Register to Outsource Editing to India". Fox News. June 25, 2008. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
- Kouwe, Zachery (August 31, 2009). "Owner of Orange County Register May File for Bankruptcy". New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
- Pérez-Peña, Richard (September 14, 2009). "Outrage Over Column on California Kidnapping". New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
- Whicker, Mark (September 7, 2009). "Many odd things have happened in sports the past 18 years". The Orange County Register. Retrieved August 6, 2011.[dead link]
- Tommy Craggs (9 September 2009). "Mark Whicker Leaves The Yard". Deadspin.com. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
- Milbourn, Mary Ann (July 25, 2012). "Freedom Communications closes sale of the Register". Orange County Register (archive). Archived from the original on 2012-08-29. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
- Ken Bensinger, "O.C. Register Sellers Sue New Ower," Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2013, page 33
- Lattman, Peter; Adams, Russell (August 31, 2009). "Paper Owner Freedom Plans to File For Chapter 11". The Wall Street Journal. p. B1.
- "R.C. Hoiles, Chief of Freedom Newspaper Chain, Dies at 91". Los Angeles Times. October 31, 1970. p. C1.
- "Raymond C. Hoiles, 91, Is Dead". New York Times. October 31, 1970. p. 32.
- "Who Opposes Prop 8?". 2008. Retrieved December 4, 2008.
- Register to launch online paywall (Subscription required) Retrieved April 1, 2013
- Official website
- OCExcelsior.com (sister publication) (Spanish)
- Freedom Communications flagship profile of The Orange County Register