THEY LOVE LA: Though publishers are turning a worried eye to the luxury advertising sector, the woes of the newspaper industry are older and greater, and newspapers are still looking to their luxury glossies to bring up revenue. The Los Angeles Times’ effort, LA, launched in September with 62 ad pages and has since both upgraded the paper stock (roundly booed at the launch) and found a new publisher. Valarie Anderson, who came from within the paper, was replaced in mid-October by Penn Jones, who worked for many years at Time Inc., with stints at In Style and who was also corporate sales director on the West Coast. He most recently cofounded and ran a media sales firm he started, Virtus.
The November-December issue will have 69 ad pages, following a weaker October with 48 pages, and among the fashion advertisers are Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Fred Leighton and Giorgio Armani. The staff includes creative director Rip Georges, design and culture editor Mayer Rus (formerly of House & Garden) and fashion director Lori Goldstein, who is fitting in her commitments to the magazine with her existing styling career.
A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Times said earlier reports in The New York Times and elsewhere that the magazine would be put under the supervision of the business department — which had raised concerns about the magazine becoming a glorified advertorial — were inaccurate, and Jones said there was still separation of church and state. Both Jones and editor Annie Gilbar answer to John O’Loughlin, president of the Targeted Media division that includes Hoy and Times Community Newspapers, whereas the previous version of the Los Angeles Times magazine was overseen by the editor of the newspaper. The September issue carries a disclaimer on the business-side masthead: “LA is published by the magazine staff of the Los Angeles Times and is a separate and independently edited publication from the Los Angeles Times newspaper.” Depending upon whom you ask, moving LA out of the newsroom means either that it’s being put out by people who know how to put out glossies, or that it frees the magazine to put out advertiser-friendly (if not advertiser-dictated) content without compromising the newsroom’s standards.
The Times plans to publish 11 issues next year. — Irin Carmon