Friday, December 20, 2013

Aaron Kushner's holiday message to staff

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for the hard work and inspiration you poured into the Register this year. 

As we talked about in our Town Hall, we set some quite audacious goals for ourselves in 2013. While we did not achieve all of them, what we accomplished was remarkable. From our subscribers to our advertiser partners to our community at large, everyone can see and feel how far we have come already. Great job!

We are committed to winning and 2014 will be the year we complete our first full circle doing just that. We believe that there are three essential elements to winning: producing a great community-building newspaper, growing our revenue and impact in the community, and producing permanently profitable results. 

We expect our second year will be just as challenging and rewarding as our first, and that we will make even more progress. Lean into January- don't let up. Let's make the start to our year just as energized as we have concluded December. 

Among the items in queue for 2014: 

· We have added the Press-Enterprise and La Prensa to our family which presents a great opportunity and a significant responsibility with two large and important communities to serve of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. 

· We will continue to evolve and grow our Orange County Register business. We are continuously evaluating our products, our sections, our sales, our organization and structure to find the most effective ways possible to deliver for our subscribers, advertisers and community. Along those lines, as have many newspapers, we will be marketing our Santa Ana real estate for either sale-leaseback or sale. We have already made excellent progress in both reducing our debt and significantly increasing the funding levels of our pension plan. Exiting the real estate business to focus on the newspaper business will continue that progress. If we do not lease back our existing space, we anticipate remaining in the county seat of Santa Ana in nearby space. 

· And we will continue our expansion geographically with a full Los Angeles Register. While the outside media world may focus on this, we know that we have an entire business to continue to build. We will take our development of the Los Angeles Register in stride, just as we have done so well with the Long Beach Register and more recently the Press-Enterprise. Our ability to grow both internally and externally without skipping a beat in our normal course of business is a critical element of our success. 

In the context of all that is new as we move into 2014, it's always healthy to remind ourselves of what we are and what we are not. 

We are not bland. We are not depressing. We are not a national newspaper. We are not liberal, nor are we reactionary. We are not antagonistic or afflicting.

We believe in intelligent, civil discourse. We believe a newspaper should have verve and heart. We believe in free markets and the freedom to live our lives. 

We believe in building community, and that is why we exist. That is why we are in the service of Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Long Beach and soon the rest of Los Angeles County. 

Thank you again for the inspiring and engaging work you do every day. We look forward to continuing to grow the Register together!

--Best, Aaron

h/t Brett Levy

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