When the latest reincarnated version of the Los Angeles Times Magazine hit front porches in the Sunday paper, it could have passed as an advertising circular.
The stocky 8x10 profile book, combined with its flimsy paper stock and 70-plus pages of fashion and furniture ads, certainly contributed to that impression.
So much so that plans are already under way to upgrade both the cover and the inside pages to a heavier grade glossy paper, said John O'Loughlin, president of target media and senior vice president of marketing at the Los Angeles Times.
O'Loughlin, who oversees the publication, said there are also plans under way to make the monthly magazine available at newsstands. The Sept. 7 launch targeted home delivery only.
"We received a great deal of feedback from our customers and one of the requests was that we make the magazine available beyond home delivery," O'Loughin said. "And we're considering that."
The magazine, which has been in the works for just six weeks since the Times killed an earlier version of the magazine in July, has generated some controversy. Unlike the multiple previous versions of the magazine, this was put under the control of the Times advertising department.
And then before the first edition even left the press, publisher Valerie Anderson departed, something that neither O'Loughlin nor magazine Editor Annie Gilbar would discuss. O'Loughlin would only say that a search for a new publisher is under way and that he's narrowed it down to a very short list.
Meanwhile, Gilbar, whose editorial credentials are steeped in the world of fashion, defended online jabs that she has taken regarding the magazine's bent toward narcissistic writing.
"We don't do investigative pieces or reviews," Gilbar said. "We take a personal storytelling approach about the many varied aspects of life in L.A."
Bryce Nelson, former Midwest bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times in Chicago and current professor at USC Annenberg School for Journalism, said that the new magazine doesn't pass muster with him.
"It is obviously highly fashion oriented and really doesn't offer the intelligent reader much," Nelson said. "I would have liked to have seen something like (automotive columnist) Dan Neil's column in there."
Nelson also criticized moving editorial control of the magazine over to the business side, arguing the content is sure to suffer. But O'Loughlin said the magazine belongs under control of the business department.
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