I keep hearing from LA Observed readers who pass along email from RealTalk LA saying the magazine is in dire financial straits -- suspended operations, bills unpaid, uncertain future. But today's Christian Science Monitor does a feature on the magazine and founder Jay Levin, and paints a rosy picture. Not until the end does reporter Frank Kosa deal with the question of whether the magazine still exists. The next issue will arrive in July, he says — a month late.
Mr. Levin is remarkably soft-spoken...a self-described "pragmatic visionary," with an activist bent and a critical eye. That criticism is often focused on the media, and their failure to serve their readers. Now Levin is putting his own theories about serving the reader to the ultimate test. Will he prove to be savant or simple failure?
Talk persists outside the magazine of a short life. But Levin, a survivor and dreamer, remains optimistic. "We've got challenges," he says of the magazine's long-term prognosis on a late Friday afternoon. "But we'll make it through. We'll be successful."
My latest emails about RealTalk, in recent days, include a freelancer's lament — "when I inquired when freelancers would be paid I was told that the magazine hadn't paid their full time staff in over a month" — and correspondence sent to an LAO reader from the magazine:
Unfortunately, the magazine is going on hiatus for the summer due to financial problems. We hope to return to publication in the fall. Please keep in touch...
The website is still breathing, but appears to be bedridden.
Photo: Frank Kosa