According to an editor's email sent to Calendar staffers on Friday, Los Angeles Times Magazine publisher Valarie Anderson left the company even before the first issue came out on Sunday. Here's the email from Deputy Daily Calendar Editor Lee Margulies, reporting on comments by LAT editor in chief Russ Stanton at Friday's page one meeting:
Sent: Friday, September 05, 2008 4:08 PM
Subject: Lat magazine
Fyi, at the 3:30 meeting today, Russ announced that the new magazine has been moved out of the advertising dept and into the alternative publishing group, the LAT sector that publishes hoy, the community papers and other non-times staff. He also said that the publisher of the magazine has "left the company." Russ was pleased at this development, saying he'd wanted it in the alternative group all along.
And, for what it's worth, John Arthur said we will all be surprised when we see the magazine. It is not, he said, an adver-torial, but rather a real effort at producing a high-end magazine. Russ said there will be some sort of "disclaimer" on the inside title page -- probably in small type -- about this not being a product of the Times editorial dept.
There will be front-page promos for it on Sat and Sun.
Arthur, the paper's executive editor, may have liked the magazine issue. But Native Intelligence contributor Denise Hamilton did not. She lists the stories that had appeared in the newspaper (or elsewhere) before and offers some advice to magazine editor Annie Gilbar:
Keep the shelter and bauble ads but fill those pesky blank spaces with more essays and reportage by people like noir and graphic novelist Gary Phillips or L.A.’s irreverent Miss Manners Amy Alkon. Authors such as Edgar-award winning Naomi Hirahara and Susan Straight are here for the taking. Gina Nahai, Luis Rodriguez, Steve Erickson, Seth Greenland, Mark Haskell Smith and Anthony Miller would all add color, wit and fabulist verve, and the extra bonus is they’d actually sound authentic, avoid the faux hip patter and go easy on the exclamation points!!!!
I know you’re a smart woman and a veteran journo, Ms. Gilbar. And I have hopes that you’ll be the one to break the calamitous Curse that has long afflicted the LAT Magazine. But for now, mostly, I’m still waiting.
Blogger El Chavo also skimmed the magazine and found it seriously lacking as any kind of chronicle of the Los Angeles he inhabits. He blogs at LA Eastside that he sat down with an open mind, only to be disappointed from the opening credits:
Come on now, you could have at least aimed for some diversity in your initial publication, no? Three bios mention “fashion”, three others mention “House & Garden”, and two dudes are into sports. I think we know where this is headed....
This mag is not going on my must-read list. I suggest they change the name from LA to “Our Town” or “Our Lil’ Corner.” Yeah, maybe I’m out of touch with the interests of the average Angeleno but if those interests include dreams, angels, “Hollywood”, crap to buy, and fashion shoots, I’ll stick to what I know.
A few emails since yesterday complained the magazine was not in the paper they bought at newsstands. I've yet to receive an email complimentary of the magazine.
* Update: TellZell has a memo from ad director John O'Loughlin saying the search for a new publisher is on and that Anderson "will be leaving to pursue other career opportunities, effective immediately." Two more issues are due this year.