Not all of LA's media outlets focus on seaweed wraps, traffic jams,
and star sightings. Anita Chabria takes a look at Los Angeles magazine,
setting a new standard for West Coast media
Recently revamped Los Angeles magazine made national headlines last week
for its hard-edged profile of Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart.
Originally pitched by Bart's publicist, the story landed the Hollywood
heavyweight a suspension from his job for allegedly making racist and
It also landed the title some great publicity of its own.
While Variety's PR nightmare may discourage others from sending ideas to
LA's only glossy magazine, publisher Liz Miller promises that the
magazine is the quickest way to reach a wealthy and powerful Hollywood
demographic that often shapes national opinions.
"I refer to our readership as 'affluentials' - people with affluence and
equally important with influence," she says.
While the circulation of the magazine is small, about 185,000, its
demographics back up Miller's claims. Subscribers' average household
income is a hefty $201,401. Sixty-five percent of those readers
hold professional or managerial jobs, and 20% work in the entertainment
Despite that Hollywood-heavy readership, new editor-in-chief Kit Rachlis
says he's not interested in "the 45-minute celebrity interview that gets
pumped up to a cover story." Instead, the magazine's content has an
"emphasis on much more substantial, sophisticated journalism."
Judging from recent issues, that means a voice more akin to Esquire or
The New Yorker than a regional magazine. It also employs well-known
writers such as Tom Carson and a roster of ex-Los Angeles Times
reporters, who sound off on obscure topics ranging from an invasion of
Argentinean ants to the perfect vegetarian Reuben sandwich.
Rachlis is determined to avoid the superficial and shallow image that
often hounds Tinseltown, thinking of LA instead as a "nation state" that
has more to offer than film-set gossip.
Coming from an alternative press background - he served as the executive
editor of The Village Voice and LA Weekly, and most recently was senior
projects editor at the Los Angeles Times - Rachlis also aims to present
a diverse view of the city of Angels.
The magazine has long been accused of catering to the denizens of LA's
posh west side while ignoring less fashionable areas, such as the mostly
minority Baldwin Hills or the terminally un-hip San Fernando Valley.
Look for the new magazine to focus more on those outlying areas, and the
people who inhabit them. That was one of the draws with a January
feature about the murder of the granddaughter of police chief Bernard
To achieve a broader view, Rachlis also increased arts coverage and kept
service sections such as restaurant reviews and "essential guide" pieces
that focus on such changing topics as diverse as yoga and roses. This is
always a good spot for a pitch if you can offer up an authoritative
voice. However, he cautions that he considers service journalism a
"crucial part of the magazine."
Pitches for long features - which can run up to 10,000 words - should be
made at least three to four months in advance to Rachlis or one of the
senior editors. Think smart, urbane, and polished when writing up your
pitch - and don't be afraid to offer a quirky angle. The pitches that
win his approval are the ones "that are most particular and most
perceptive about LA."
He adds that "there is not a form of non-fiction that we will not be
running, whether it's memoirs or first person, or investigations, or
historical pieces." Shorter front-of-the-book pieces, which typically
run from 1,500 to 2,000 words, can be pitched two months in advance.
These are good sections to target if your client can offer insight into
an LA social niche, locale, or pastime. And despite the new literary
feel, don't despair if you're looking for celebrity placement - the
magazine's opening buzz pages often highlight star sightings and charity
event photo ops.
Los Angeles magazine
Tel: (323) 801-0100; Fax: (323) 801-0104;
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (i.e. email@example.com)
Editor-in-chief: Kit Rachlis
Managing editor: Matthew Segal
Executive editor: Michael Walker
Senior editors: Margot Dougherty, Gia Lauren Gittleson, Mary Melton, RJ
Smith, Joshua Tompkins, Karen Wada