OC Register Births Changes, Gets A “Moms” Section

batonchange.jpgWhen long-time Orange County Register features editor Cathy Lawhon left the paper for the luxurious life of flackdom, we wondered how the paper was possibly going to publish. Who could step in to do the work of a woman who was already doing the work of five?

The answer, it seems, is no one and everyone. OCR announced major changes to its features department, shuffling people around, starting up new Online sections and giving Health editor Andre Mouchard the plum job of overseeing “Morning Reads” (the longish features that run, like Column Ones, on the Reg’s front page).

More of the changes are described in the memo below. But don’t ask us what OCmoms.com is. We have no idea.

Andre Mouchard has agreed to take over as Morning Read and Life, etc. editor. He will combine the people team and the Life team into one slightly larger happy family. He says: “Since late 2005 I’ve been editor, quietly napping as others have written about health, medicine, restaurants and retail. Prior to that I was a writer in business and features, covering everything from the Baja 1000 to Sept. 11 to turkey wrangling. It saddens me to report that the word ‘gizmo’ appears in more than 60 stories with my byline.”

Courtney Perkes and Blythe Bernhard will bring their expertise in health to OCmoms and the Health and Fitness section. They will report to Theresa Walker, the team leader for OCmoms.com.

Blythe started as a summer intern in the Anaheim bureau in 2003. She then wrote for the Fountain Valley View and Huntington Beach Wave before covering the Tri-Cities (Seal Beach, Los Alamitos and Cypress) beat, receiving the OC Register Watchdog Award in 2005 for her work on the public records investigation. Blythe has covered health care for the last two years. She is a graduate of USC.

Courtney has worked at the Register for nearly seven years. Before joining the health team in 2005, she covered Santa Ana. Courtney previously worked at the Riverside Press-Enterprise. Most recently, Courtney cited the Register’s ban on a gifts when turning down a doctor’s offer for a free shot of Botox.

Sam Miller will join the OCmoms team as the teens/family reporter. Sam has been with the Register since 2002. For three years he has covered education in South Orange County, writing a yearlong series about middle school students and covering such teen trends as dodgeball, Rubik’s cubing and defamatory MySpace pages. His work uncovering misdeeds in Capistrano Unified led to the recent indictment of the district’s superintendent. He lives in Costa Mesa with his wife, and spends his free time writing a secret blog about baseball, editing a list of his Top 100 albums and taking out the kitchen trash.

Glenn Hall is still working out how to cover Andre’s retail and restaurant/food duties in Marketplace.

Batons will change hands over the course of July.

Congratulations, guys.