Bob Keisser found himself in a dream situation this summer: creating his own sports department.
In July, the longtime Long Beach Press-Telegram sports reporter became the Long Beach Register sports editor. The Register, which first published on Aug. 19, is a six-day-a-week, 16-to-40-page newspaper wrapped around the Orange County Register.
Keisser recognizes how odd creating a newspaper in an economy where many are shrinking or even disappearing seems. But after 16 years at the now-defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner and almost 23 at the Press-Telegram, he wanted the challenge.
One of the biggest: a lack of file photos. “You literally have nothing at the start,” Keisser said.
Jake Kaplan and Jim Thomas joined Keisser in August, and Will D'Urso began in late November. They were so busy at the start that Keisser joked their next day off would be Thanksgiving.
But Keisser said he doesn't mind the hard work. He said seeing the number of people at the Orange County Register during a visit in July sparked his interest to join. The newspaper had added staffers and increased focus on its print product after Aaron Kushner bought it last year.
“I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself if I had passed up this opportunity,” Keisser said. “It's a hell of a lot of work, but it's rewarding.”
He's described some of the design work as “drop-dead beautiful” with lots of photos. He added that a Thursday combined edition weighs as much as eight pounds.
But the Long Beach Register has a lot to do to catch up with the Press-Telegram. The Orange County Register reported in August that the Press-Telegram had an estimated circulation of about 60,000 and the Orange County Register just 2,600 in that market.
Furthermore, the Press-Telegram reported in August that the paper planned to add reporters and editors, expand the number of pages and update its website.
“We're determined, and we're going to invest in our papers,” Los Angeles News Group publisher Ron Hasse said, according to the article.
The Long Beach Register, however, has many people familiar with the city, which has a population of nearly 475,000. Some previously worked at the Press-Telegram.
Former Press-Telegram publisher Ian Lamont holds the same role at the Long Beach Register. Former Press-Telegram city editor Paul Eakins is the editor, and news reporters Greg Mellen and Kelly Puente have experience in the market.
Anecdotally, it seems the Register is gaining traction. Kaplan no longer must explain to sources the Register is a new community newspaper. Instead, he said, coaches are sending results like they would to any paper and athletes' parents recognize him at games.
“We're in a pretty good groove four months later,” Kaplan said. “We're definitely picking up steam.”
Personnel moves across the nation:
—Wilmington StarNews: Hired former Wyoming Tribune Eagle University of Wyoming beat writer Alex Riley to cover UNC-Wilmington
—Cleveland.com: Hired Nubyjas Wilborn as high school sports reporter
—The (Champaign, Ill.) News-Gazette: Promoted sports editor Jim Rossow to executive editor … named Jeff D'Alessio managing editor for news … promoted Fred Kroner to executive sports editor
—MLive.com: Hired Justin Dacey as sports reporter at Kalamazoo Gazette
—Northwest Herald: Hired John Sahly as web editor
—St. Paul Pioneer Press: Hired former Fox Sports Florida reporter Chris Tomasson as Minnesota Vikings beat writer
—Times of Northwest Indiana: Hired David Keck as sports editor
—Associated Press: Hired Cliff Brunt as Oklahoma City sports writer
—Columbia Daily Tribune: Hired Blake Toppmeyer from Quincy (Ill.) Herald-Whig to cover University of Missouri Olympic sports
—Topeka Capital-Journal: Hired Jesse Newell to cover University of Kansas
—NJ.com: Hired Dan Duggan to cover Rutgers football/basketball … hired AJ Perez as GA reporter … moved Jordan Raanan to New York Giants beat … moved Brendan Kuty to New York Yankees beat … hired Randy Miller to cover New Jersey Devils … hired Dom Cosentino from Deadspin to cover New York Jets
—PennLive: Promoted sports manager Paul Vigna to enterprise editor … promoted Michael Sedor to sports manager
—USA Today: Hired Nancy Armour from Associated Press as sports enterprise writer
—York Daily Record: Promoted Lyzz Jones to sports editor to replace Chris Otto
—ESPN: Moved David Ching from UGA beat to LSU … lost Jason King, who became Bleacher Report's lead college basketball writer
—Glens Falls Post-Star: Hired Brett Hudson as sports reporter
—Maine Press Herald: Had sports reporter Paul Betit retire after 38 years … hired Mark Emmert as sports reporter
—MassLive: Hired Jason Mastrodonato as new Boston Red Sox beat writer
—MLB.com: Hired former Chicago Tribune reporter Phil Rogers as columnist
—OregonLive: Moved Jason Quick from Portland Trail Blazers beat to Oregon football
—Tacoma News-Tribune: Hired former Kansas City Star Royals beat writer Bob Dutton to cover Seattle Mariners
—AL.com: Promoted Izzy Gould to sports manager
—Athens Banner-Herald: Promoted sports editor Chris White to Director of Audience … promoted former assistant sports editor Rachel Bowers to sports editor
—Knoxville News Sentinel: Lost assistant sports editor Gregg Hampton, who became managing editor at the Greenwood, S.C., Index-Journal
—Memphis Commercial Appeal: Hired former Syracuse.com Syracuse University football beat writer Michael Cohen as enterprise reporter
—Paducah Sun: Hired Daniel Paulling as sports reporter
—Houston Chronicle: Hired former MassLive Red Sox reporter Evan Drellich to cover Houston Astros
—CBSSports.com: Hired former San Francisco Chronicle Cal reporter Hunter Hewitt as associate content producer
—LANG: Promoted Tom Moore to Executive Sports Editor … hired Christina Gullickson as sports digital producer from Santa Cruz Sentinel
—Long Beach Register: Hired William D'Urso as a sports reporter
—Salt Lake Tribune: Hired Bubba Brown as preps reporter
—San Luis Obispo Tribune: Hired Alex Jankowski as high school sports reporter
Compiled by Daniel Paulling of the Paducah (Ky.) Sun