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At the recent ASNE annual convention in Washington, DC, Orange County Register Editor Ken Brusic captured the attention of the audience with some surprising numbers:

  • The hiring of more than 175 journalists in the past year, half of them writers.
  • Nearly 60 of them are "trainees" — recent graduates or from small papers — who earn $12 an hour plus housing.
  • More than half of all the new hires are focused on the dozens of weekly community products.
  • The Register has added more than 750 pages of content (not counting additional advertising pages) per month, some 50 new sections, pages and features.
  • The community products have increased page count 160 percent year over year.
  • Re-opened a Washington, DC bureau.

Does Brusic now have your attention? He should.

By eschewing "digital first" or "print first," the Register is focused on "subscriber first." Plowing all those resources into the Register has reinvigorated watchdog and investigative reporting, has given rise to a "sense of possibility … that we can really make a difference," Brusic said. You do that with "important, relevant, essential information."

Don't just scan this and move on. Watch and listen to the video. His description of how the organization serves those many communities is revelatory.

Brian Steffens  
Director of Communications


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