Mary Melton exits as Los Angeles Magazine sold


Boom. The long and award-winning Emmis era at Los Angeles Magazine came to a crashing end Tuesday when the magazine was sold to a publisher of magazines in Detroit. Editor-in-chief Mary Melton announced in a series of heartfelt tweets beginning just before 5 p.m. that this was her last day at Los Angeles after 16 years. Later in the evening, editor-at-large Amy Wallace tweeted that this was her last day as well. Given their departures, I would expect to see more top staffers leaving.

Emmis Communications announced earlier in the day that it had sold its remaining magazines — including Orange Coast in Orange County — to Hour Media Group, which publishes Detroit Home and other Detroit titles, as well as Sacramento magazine. Emmis had put its magazines up for sale last year and already completed the sale of Texas Monthly. The deal announced Tuesday also includes Atlanta and Cincinnati magazines. Melton was also vice president and editorial director of Emmis Publishing.

Emmis, which also owns radio station shere and elsewhere, is holding onto its hometown magazine, Indianapolis Monthly. No terms were announced.

“We have been honored to own and operate these marquee titles, with some of the most dedicated, creative employees in the business,” Emmis Chairman & CEO Jeff Smulyan said in the company's news release. “We wish all of them well, and hope they enjoy tremendous success in the future.”

My sense is that Smulyan and Emmis mostly let the editors at Los Angeles pursue their idea of a top city magazine. A quick glance at Detroit Home's website doesn't leave me encouraged about the future of Los Angeles Magazine. The Orange County Business Journal says that Hour Media is a privately held company that now holds 70 magazines and custom titles across the country. Christopher Schulz, the publisher of Orange Coast, said he was told he and the existing staff will remain with Orange Coast.

Melton noted in her Twitter series that Los Angeles magazine in her years won three Ellies and had 12 nominations, as well as 100 nominations in the City and Regional Magazine awards. She thanked Kit Rachlis, the former editor of Los Angeles who began working with Melton when she was an intern at LA Weekly in 1990, and later at the Los Angeles Times.

You can read Mary's entire thread over at Twitter. I'll also note these.

Los Angeles Magazine started I believe in 1961 and was owned for a time by ABC and by Disney. Emmis acquired the magazine in 2000.

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