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Rick Wartzman on West

The editor who conceived of West magazine in the L.A. Times doesn't appreciate LA Observed's latest take on the concept or last year's notorious grizzly bears-as-governors photo essay.

 Kevin, I appreciate you chronicling the many changes—most of them terribly unwelcome in my opinion—unfolding at West magazine. But I was surprised to see you characterize West as "a weekly with curious pretensions."

Frankly, I'm not sure what was curious or pretentious about it. Under my watch, our mission was pretty simple: to try to cover the many sides of California with a sense of grace and style—and to have some fun while we were at it.

Recently, the Missouri School of Journalism named West (that is, the West of 2006) the best regularly scheduled feature supplement in America in its annual Lifestyle Journalism Awards competition. In bestowing this prize—which is widely considered among the most prestigious in the business—the judges praised West for providing "a sense of place, a sense of literature and a sense of humor."

What's so hard to understand about that?

Rick Wartzman
Former Editor, West

P.S. Enough with the bears already. That was a whimsical one-off meant to bring a smile, not earnest analysis. Besides, Jill Greenberg's photos were great—so great that the Society of Publication Designers honored the package as one of the best spreads in any magazine in the country last year.

June 27, 2007 11:55 PM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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