‘LA Times’ Editor Confirms Sunday Magazine Changes

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By: Joe Strupp

Los Angeles Times Editor Russ Stanton confirmed, in a memo to staffers, that the news department would no longer be producing the paper’s Sunday magazine.

But, in the same memo, Stanton denied a report in The New York Times about the change that an editor had been hired for the publication.

“Contrary to reports, it is my understanding that the group has yet to hire a staff for this publication, including an editor,” Stanton stated in the memo, which the paper placed on its Web site in the Reader Representative’s blog.

The memo follows today’s New York Times’ story that revealed the Sunday magazine would soon come under control of the paper’s business operations.

That story also claimed that Annie Gilbar, a former host of a program on the Home Shopping Network and a former editor of InStyle magazine, had been hired as editor of the Sunday magazine.

Stanton did not address the New York Times story specifically in the memo, but made clear the change was not something he favored: “I have come to the reluctant conclusion that, even as a monthly, the magazine is something we cannot afford to continue at a time of diminishing newsroom resources. So the editorial department will stop producing it after the July issue, and we’ll be looking to find jobs for the magazine staff within the paper.

“At the same time, the company has been looking at possible ways to continue to publish a magazine, but outside of the direction of the editorial department. The Los Angeles Times Media Group publishes several other titles outside of our newsroom, including Hoy, MetroMix and the Times Community Newspapers.”

Neither Stanton nor Publisher David Hiller returned calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Los Angeles Times spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan did issue a statement related to the change:

“We?re rethinking the future of the Los Angeles Times Magazine and have reached the conclusion that it will be discontinued in its current form after the July issue. At the same time, the company is looking at possible ways to publish a magazine as part of the larger Los Angeles Times Media Group, joining titles such as Hoy, Metromix and the Times Community Newspapers that are created outside of our core newsroom. We are continuing to have discussions about these plans and will make any announcements after these plans are finalized.”

The entire Stanton memo is posted below:

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Colleagues:

By now you’ve likely heard that the company is rethinking the future of the Los Angeles Times Magazine, which has lost money for years and is on track to post another significant loss in 2008.

I have come to the reluctant conclusion that, even as a monthly, the magazine is something we cannot afford to continue at a time of diminishing newsroom resources. So the editorial department will stop producing it after the July issue, and we’ll be looking to find jobs for the magazine staff within the paper.

At the same time, the company has been looking at possible ways to continue to publish a magazine, but outside of the direction of the editorial department.?The Los Angeles Times Media Group publishes several other titles outside of our newsroom, including Hoy, MetroMix and the Times Community Newspapers. Contrary to reports, it is my understanding that the group has yet to hire a staff for this publication, including an editor.

As a new business model for the magazine is developed, we have been in discussions with David Hiller and Jack Klunder about ways to make clear that the magazine is being produced outside of our own newsroom. We want to make sure that the public — our readers and the subjects of the stories included — are not confused about who is producing the content of the magazine.

We expect to get more details about this arrangement soon, which we’ll share with you.

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