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California newspaper defies trend to shrink costs

The Associated Press, Tuesday, January 1, 2013, 7:55am (PST)

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A major Southern California newspaper is defying conventional wisdom by spending heavily to expand in print.

The Orange County Register is adding about 100 journalists and expects the paper will soon be 40 percent larger than it was under previous owners. Thicker pages with triple the number of colors will produce crisp photos and graphics.

The Register introduced or expanded sections for business, automotive and food coverage. High school sports, community news and investigative reporting are getting more attention. Even color comics are back.

Aaron Kushner leads an investment group that bought the 107-year-old Register and parent company, Freedom Communications Inc., in July. The 39-year-old, first-time newspaper owner says readers will pay for high-quality news.

A big test comes when the Register begins charging for access to its website.

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