UPDATE, Tuesday at 5:37 p.m.: A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Register tells TheWrap that 29 newsroom positions have been eliminated as a result of the paper’s shutdown. An unspecified number of employees will be transferred to sister publication the Orange County Register.
The Los Angeles Register newspaper is ceasing publication after just five months.
The bad news was revealed to the staff in an email sent on Monday night at approximately 11 p.m. Layoff notices began going out on Tuesday morning, although it was unclear how many people would lose their jobs.
The L.A. Register broke the news to readers that it was immediately ending publication in a front page article Tuesday titled “Thank you, L.A., for sharing your stories.”
“We launched in April with the ambition to tell the local stories that make Los Angeles great … unfortunately, not enough readers took us up on our offering, and we have decided that today’s print edition will be the final one,” said the article written by Register owner Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz, who owns parent company, Freedom Communications.
At the time of its launch , the Register billed itself as the “new voice” for the sprawling city served by the Los Angeles Times and the L.A. Daily News.
It began with a staff of 40 and a “right of center” viewpoint,” according to Kushner, who is also CEO of Freedom Communications.
In June, Kushner came under fire for announcing staff furloughs, voluntary newsroom buyouts, layoffs and the consolidation of the company’s Long Beach newspaper with the Los Angeles Register six days a week. The move came just two months after the L.A. Register’s launch.
In a wide-ranging interview with TheWrap, he defended himself against critics who had called him out-of-touch for launching a newspaper in the midst of a widespread decline in print media, then announcing cuts a short time later. “We’re very early in trying to figure out a business model to profitably grow a major newspaper,” Kushner said.
“We’re learning, we’re making progress — is it as fast as we initially wanted? No, it most definitely is not — but that doesn’t mean it’s a failure. Nor does it mean it’s a smashing success. It is what it is: slow, hopefully steady progress.”
He also addressed the recent round of staff reductions. “Anytime you have to see members of your team leave, those are very difficult days and decisions to make, but we have to align our costs with our level of growth,” Kushner said.
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s front page L.A. Register article informed readers that they “may continue their digital subscriptions, including access to all of the Register’s news products.” It also noted that subscribers in Long Beach will “transition to daily delivery of the Orange County Register.”
Tony Maglio contributed to this report.