LOS ANGELES – Move over Los Angeles Times, there's a new newspaper in town.
The L.A. Register, published by Freedom Communications, launched on Wednesday, and is being marketed as a more conservative, pro-business community-based newspaper. It’s the brainchild of former greeting card executive and Internet entrepreneur Aaron Kushner, who took the reins as Freedom’s CEO in 2012 after acquiring it through his company, 2100 Trust.
“We do understand that Los Angeles papers are largely left-leaning, and there is an opportunity to tell the other side of the story, a fundamental part of what we feel is missing, and that we will bring to the table,” Freedom Communications president and co-owner, Eric Spitz, told FOX411. “We are pro-free markets, pro-individual liberties, pro-business and limited taxation. We believe that there are many opportunities for consumers to get news about international and national events through the Internet and 24-hour news channel cycle, but when it comes to local news, there isn’t really a way for consumers to get satisfied.”
The new daily paper is available at 5,500 locations in the Los Angeles area. Its the first direct competitor for the L.A. Times since the Herald-Examiner closed up shop in 1989. And despite Los Angeles' left-leaning reputation, media experts say there is room in the marketplace for a publication with a center-right news direction.
“If the Register wants the best success for its advertisers over the long-term, it will need to appeal to the businesses that are in sync with the publication's ideals and beliefs,” explained L.A-based marketing and business expert Craig Valine. “The L.A. Register needs to communicate who the publication is really for, and who it is not for. I think it can really take readers away from the Times.”
In an era where newspapers are struggling, Kushner has managed to bump up circulation of Freedom’s 34 other publications 27 percent over last year. But some still think the L.A. Register will be a tough sell.
“It’s an ambitious, risky and very costly move. 2014 is a difficult time to convince people to subscribe to print,” said Gabriel Kahn, Professor of Professional Practice at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. “Political perspectives used to define the marketplace, like in Chicago when there was a pro-Union and anti-Union newspaper war. But we now live in an age of infinite information. People can get different views from so many different places.”
The Register's launch also raises questions about the future of the ailing L.A. Times. Tribune Co., the parent company of the Times, sought bankruptcy protection in 2008, and has since worked on a slimmed-down scale with a focus on digital.
“The L.A Times will continue to struggle with or without the L.A Register,” Kahn added.
Danielle Jones-Wesley contributed to this report.
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