Church? State? L.A. Times Mag Launch Plays With the Paradigm

Church? State? L.A. Times Mag Launch Plays With the Paradigm

On September 7th, the Los Angeles Times re-launches its magazine, to be titled LA (with clear, though unspoken, deference to the success of the New York Times' T). So why has the staff been hired by the ad side, not the newsroom? [UPDATED]

It's easy to understand how a newspaper editorial staff would see this as a breach of ethics. On the other hand, if you were a company starting a monthly magazine, might you not want to hire magazine people instead of newspaper folk? 

Magazine editor Annie Gilbar was hired by the business side behind the back of LAT editor Russ Stanton--even as Stanton was laying off 135 newsroom staffers and discussing the future of the Times' existing magazine (overseen by the paper's feature department, reporting to Stanton). Gilbar has been criticized in some quarters as a non-journalist--she was a host on the Home Shopping Network, and wrote an advice book called "Wedding Sanity Savers." But she's also a vet of the late LAStyle magazine and was on the launch team of Time Inc.'s InStyle, and true to her past, has brought in fellow LAStyle/InStyle alum Rip Georges as CD. 

According to multiple sources, there is little or no contact between the paper's editorial staff and the magazine: WWD says the new team's meetings have been held outside the Times offices--at Gilbar's home. And check out this blog entry for a taste of the magazine's sensibility (as portrayed in its own PowerPoint presentation--which looks a little soft, but certainly professional) and a big dose of resulting outrage from the purists among the blog readership. (Hmmm. Think all this would fly at the New York Times? Somebody ask the ombudsman.)

Anyway, it's far from black and white.

We've all run into ethical issues, large and small, that test the ad/edit boundary. And they can be tough to resolve, or even talk about. Share your most challenging ad/edit conflicts using the COMMENT feature below. (If it makes it easier to tell the story, you don't have to name names.)
  • Bruce Ramsay

    NY Times

    T

    LA Times

    LA

    Grids ...

    Who among us has not cherished blackletter?

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