Timing matters when it comes to news. I had been reading about Aaron Kushner’s audacious strategy to invest in journalism ever since he bought The Orange County Register in 2012 for about $50 million and the assumption of $110 million in pension obligations. After years of covering layoffs, I wanted to write a different kind of tale about newspapers.

Last week, I was in Los Angeles and drove down to Santa Ana to talk to Mr. Kushner, 40, about his willingness to swim against an industrial tide. Mr. Kushner, The Register’s publisher, had no experience in publishing and looked every inch the young technocrat — he has an advanced degree from Stanford — but he is a bit of a romantic about print.

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