100 employees laid off at Orange County Register, Riverside Press-Enterprise

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Parent company Freedom Communications is laying off about 100 employees at the Orange County Register and the Riverside Press-Enterprise, the papers’ new publisher told staffers Wednesday.

Richard Mirman, an ex-casino executive who took over the as publisher in October, announced in a memo the layoff of “approximately 100 colleagues across several business units.”

Mirman said in the memo, first reported and published by the OC Weekly, that despite the efforts of his predecessors and improvements in the news operation, “our business has not achieved the growth necessary to support our cost structure. Unfortunately, the business is not profitable. Going forward, success requires us to boldly rethink our priorities and our focus.”

Mirman said in the memo that the newsrooms will not be affected by the layoffs, nor should the quality of the newspapers. The layoffs are meant as part of the company strategy to “right size” its business back to appropriate levels, he said.

A message left seeking comment from a Freedom Communications spokesman was not immediately returned.

The layoffs are the latest in a series of staff reductions at the financially struggling Freedom papers.

In September, the company stopped production of the Los Angeles Register just five months after it began publication. In October, it was sued by The Los Angeles Times over what the Times called breach of contract and failure to pay more than $2 million in delivery fees.