The L.A. Times may be struggling with its new owner (Sam Zell) and its apparent infighting (with a disconcerted staff), but one thing is certain: They’re loving their magazine. Or at least they think they are.
The mag, slated to emerge on Sept. 7 is already pre-selling ads in the millions of bucks and is expecting a circulation (akin to the Times’ Sunday edition) of 1.2 million, which translates with a pass-around rate to 3.4 million readers.
Editor Annie Gilbar, a veteran of editor of InStyle, is proudest of the fact that it dwarfs any potential competition in the glossy mag world. She says the combined circulations of the competition is less than half a million.
Gilbar and publisher Valarie Anderson, former west coast director for W Magazine, are raring to go with this first 144-page edition of arts, politics, fashion and other entities indigenous to Los Angeles. This is a long way from the 18-to-36-page mags that Times has churned out in the past.
“We want this to be about Los Angeles and about topics in Los Angeles,” says Gilbar. “And we want to use writers. There are so many great writers for books, screenplays, articles and everything in Los Angeles.”
She adds that the first cover will either be about fashion or an undisclosed personality profile, but she won’t tell.
Gilbar is hopeful that if the magazine has a stellar start, it could be a the savior for the actual paper, which has faced difficulties of late with circulation and advertising lost to the Internet. “Right now, I’m more worried about having to cut down great stories and editing them to fit into 144 pages,” Gilbar says.