Thursday, March 26, 2009

March 26, 2009 News

VERY interesting news in a memo from John T. O'Loughlin, who has the lofty title of "EVP and CMO/Targeted Media and Marketing, Los Angeles Times Media Group." The memo was posted on the LAT Pressmens blog, and I'll just quote directly for parts. Take the link to read the rest.

First, Metromix will be phased-out of print distribution, and replaced with a more expansive, truly multimedia lifestyle product, called BRAND X ( As part of this transition, the editorial content will move under the direction of the LAT newsroom, lead by Dean Kuipers. Brand X will build upon the strong readership base that embraced Metromix over the past year, and now reflect the market’s need for a broader and more interactive content offering. It will reach beyond just entertainment to curate next-generation ideas on culture, tech, food, events, social networking, volunteering, style, the outdoors and beyond. A key part of the company’s overall audience strategy, Brand X is designed to be conversational and geared toward the growing segment of influential young digital adults who are not regular consumers of the LA Times in print or online. And because Brand X is produced by the Los Angeles Times, this new property will draw from every newsdesk, and offer all the listings users expect from the staffs of and

In regards to our Hispanic media offerings, Hoy will move from daily to weekly distribution, debuting with a crisp, new design and content plan. As part of this change, will join Hoy and reverse-publish content as branded entertainment pages in each week’s edition, as well as introduce new video content to the site in the process. We’ll also be adding local service guides for heath, beauty, entertainment and immigration, to mention just a few. Saturday’s Fin De Semana weekend product will introduce zoning for the first time in its 500,000 copy home-delivery footprint, allowing us to better compete for local retail advertising. [snip]

In regards to our TCN North titles (Glendale News Press, Burbank Leader, LaCanada Valley Sun and Crescenta Valley Sun), we are pleased to welcome Dan Evans as new Director of Editorial. [snip]

Finally, LA, Los Angeles Times Magazine is making two bold moves. First, we will take a more focused audience approach for the monthly flagship publication through a new targeted distribution model that will add it to single copy sales of the LA Times, but tighten the overall footprint to focus on select zip codes. This will take affect with the upcoming April 5th edition and should yield improved response for clients and increased efficiency for us. Plans are being finalized for introducing a themed weekly edition to run on alternate weeks, with debut as early as April 19th. Tentatively named LAetcetera, it will also have a controlled distribution model, is expected to run 16-24 pages with more great writers and columns, can now cover the social scene on a weekly basis and will provide magazine advertisers looking for greater frequency to reach their best prospects - currently not an option we offer them.

This guy's marketing-speak is so thick, it's hard to figure out what he's saying, but it sounds like the LA Times Magazine will be inserted only in issues distributed to "select zip codes." You can bet that won't be anywhere in east or south L.A. It's unclear to me whether this "Laetcetera" is part of the magazine or a separate piece, but either way, the fact that it will "cover the social scene on a weekly basis" sounds promising for those of us who rep non-profits. Unless by "social scene," he means bars, clubs and raves, which is highly possible.

According to LA Observed:
A critic emails that the editorial side was strongly against the name, citing its "unappealing and retro Gen X connotations." The email adds: "It's the brand that always loses to Tide," but the decision was made by the marketing side (the same marketing department that thought Metromix would be a hit in print.) A Times editor emails that the Brand X name is "terribly unpopular among the rank and file, especially, it seems, among the people who are going to be putting it out."

The Times' LA Now blog announced this earlier this week:

The Times is launching Westside Watch, the first of several neighborhood pages the paper will be rolling out this year. Westside Watch is devoted to covering communities of Los Angeles' Westside, including Westwood, Century City, Bel-Air, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades, and the incorporated cities of Santa Monica, Culver City, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.

Nothing too exciting or original so far, just a compendium of existing online and newspaper coverage packaged into one page, although they add this in the above post:

Look for more features coming soon to Westside Watch, including… essays about Westside life and issues from contributors in the community.

They direct newstips to the email address of metrodesk.

Got this from the Jewish Journal's Dikla Kadosh, Calendar Editor/Contributing Writer:

Thanks for sending us notice of this event. However, there have been a few changes at The Jewish Journal recently that you should be aware of. We will no longer be publishing our Arts in LA quarterly, so if you could please only email us events that have a Jewish angle for the regular Journal Calendar, that would be helpful. Also, Danielle Berrin no longer assists me with the Calendar, so there is no need to include her in future emails.

Lucy Pollak sends this sad news about the passing of Gene Warech, who wrote for Random Lengths Newsmagazine in San Pedro and for Laguna Coastline News and had been an LADCC member, with the funeral service info posting requested by his wife, Lynn.

Gene Warech died on March 16. He fell in a store and went into a coma – Lynn thinks the fall might have been precipitated by some kind of a stroke, but she doesn't really know.

The service will take place on Sunday, April 5 at 1 pm:
Hillside Memorial
6001 West Centinela Ave
Los Angeles CA 90045

Lucy adds this today:
John Farrell will now be writing the Curtain Call column for Random Lengths: He asked me to give out his info to whomever is interested.

The hotmail address is johnfarrellbsi

Deepest condolences to the Warech family.

Omar Cunningham passes on this news, quoted from the publication's email:

Signature Magazine & LA.Direct have merged to form Signature LA Direct Magazine – Southern California’s new leading luxury lifestyle publication. The revamped publication will introduce readers to the newest authority focusing on exclusive celebrity covers and interviews, fashion, trends, arts, leisure, philanthropy, and more. The size will be 9” X 10.875" and the magazine will publish monthly, printing 12 issues per calendar year, and will be available at the southland’s busiest newsstands and stores for sale ($3.95) while also offering complementary copies at the finest hotels, boutiques, shopping districts and other hand selected locations from Santa Barbara to San Diego with its largest concentration in Los Angeles and Orange County. The new brand is a comprehensive approach that satisfies industry needs by offering print advertising, online advertising, access to our email databases, sponsorship opportunities, and successful platforms that create exposure to the world’s most influential reader. The brand is set to launch both the new publication and website ( on April 1st, 2009.
Please make note of new contact info:
14930 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
O. (818) 285-0360
F. (818) 386-0747

Hope their editors spell better than their marketers.

From Al Martinez a week or so ago:

Greetings out there. It has been several weeks since I departed the L.A. Times and I thought I'd bring you up to date on, well, things. If, however, you prefer not to be on this mailing list, just send an email and you're off.

Meanwhile, my daughter Cindy, whom I wrote about, is effectively fighting cancer and the prognosis is good after one round of chemo. More chemo coming up and then other treatments. I appreciate all the caring you have expressed.

I am keeping up with my blog more or less and will be doing more for this blog and another website, plus columns in the local Topanga Messenger, Grand Magazine and a book in progress.

Also, the writers workshop I conduct at my house on Saturdays is going great and I invite you to participate. It's for both pros and amateurs. About 75 participants have taken it and seem to have gained by doing so.

I have worked out this message system with an expert and now it's supposed to be a blind send. I hope you're all happy, angry and involved in whatever you're doing. And don't drop your subscription to the Times because of me or for any other reason. It needs our support and we need newspapers. God help us all if we have to rely on TV news or the internet. I shudder to think.

Hey, check out my newest blog posting at