MEDIA PROFILE: The new voice of LA's elite is veering from itsHollywood image

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

homophobic remarks.

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

Address: 5900 Wilshire Boulevard, 10th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Tel: (323) 801-0100; Fax: (323) 801-0104;

Email: (i.e.


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

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