The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

Los Angeles Register debut: Good luck finding it on newsstands

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The new Los Angeles Register newspaper debuted Wednesday, and I wanted to check out the first edition. Publisher Aaron Kushner has relentlessly focused on print over digital, so I thought it best to experience the paper by holding it in my hands, which is easier said than done.

Home delivery isn't coming until next month, but the Register says 5,500 retail and newsrack locations across Los Angeles carry the paper, including "major grocery and convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and AM/PM." 

So this morning I drove to my local 7-Eleven. They carried copies of the L.A. Times, USA Today and lots of tabloids. But no L.A. Register.

Then I went to a Chevron station. They only had the Times.

Next stop: Whole Foods. A clerk told me they only carry magazines, not newspapers.

Finally, I knew where I had to go: a good old-fashioned newsstand. So I drove to the venerable Westwood Village News Stand. They had stacks of the New York Post, and the Financial Times, but no Register.

Luckily, Kushner hasn't erected a paywall on the L.A. Register's website yet, so I was free to explore the paper online. 

The L.A. Register's first page-one is heavy on pretty pictures – and really, they are pretty – and self-promotion and short on news; most of the page is taken up by "The Register's guide to L.A.'s rooftop scene." 

By contrast, the most prominent story on the L.A. Times front page Wednesday detailed how $10 million budgeted to fix city sidewalks has not been spent. The only other local story on the front page was about surging home prices;  Kushner has criticized the L.A. Times for not being local enough and said the L.A. Register will take a different approach. 

It also seems to be a soft approach, at least for now. Inside the L.A. Register,  Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar debuted a column listing his favorite L.A. movies. (The L.A. Register's twitter account misspelled his name, but quickly apologized.)

When I spoke to Kushner recently, he said a key point of the L.A. Register would be the paper's right of center politics and indeed the first editorial page emphasized just that;

Free markets, limited government, personal freedom and a strong sense of community are essential to the economic prosperity that lifts all boats, to the deterrence of tyranny and to liberty that allows us, everyone, to realize our ambitions and aspirations.

Perhaps most importantly, your Register Opinion Editorial Board is committed to these principles and, as such, belongs to no political party or special interests and caves to no pressure groups ... and never has.

What did you think of the L.A. Register's debut? Weigh in below in the comments section.

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