Aaron Kushner, new CEO and owner of Irvine-based Freedom Communications, parent company of the O.C. Register, has been named the publisher of the Orange County newspaper and flagship publication for the media conglomerate. In his new role, Kushner will be responsible for the day-to-day operations for the Orange County Register, 23 local community newspapers and periodicals, OrangeCounty.com and Coast Magazine.
"The Register has several foundational strengths, particularly its quality journalism and a loyal customer base that considers our information products to be an essential part of their personal and professional lives,” Kushner said. “I am excited to join a talented team at the Register to build on that foundation and develop plans that create additional value for subscribers and advertisers.”
He replaces interim publisher Ken Brusic, the Register’s editor, who has been serving in the dual role since April. “Ken will continue to be an invaluable leader of our institution especially as we work to strengthen the value we deliver to our subscribers and community,” Kushner said.
In addition to his leadership role at the Register, Kushner leads Freedom’s now much-reduced portfolio of five California daily newspapers, including the Desert Dispatch in Barstow, the Appeal-Democrat in Marysville, the Porterville Record in Porterville, and the Daily Press in Victorville, as well as the Gazette in Colorado Springs, CO, and the Sun in Yuma, AZ, as well as associated publications, media interests and digital properties. Freedom Communications has sold off its smaller publications in Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Illinois, Ohio and Missouri to other media groups, as well as its eight television stations.
Kushner’s company, 2100 Trust LLC, acquired Freedom Communications in June, following negotiations between the two parties. The acquiring firm is a private association of investors headed by Kushner, a Stanford-educated entrepreneur with a degree in economics. After leading companies in various industries, he founded 2100 Trust in 2009.
Kushner’s investment firm has pitched several earlier bids to acquire newspapers in other markets, notably the Boston Globe and the parent company of the Portland Press Herald. Each of those bids has been declined, according to a report in the O.C. Register.
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