Los Angeles Times Shutting Down Magazine; Layoffs Expected

In an internal memo, COO Kathy Thomson says paper will develop a quarterly lifestyle and fashion publication

The Los Angeles Times is shutting down its Sunday magazine. 

Citing the downturn in the magazine industry, LA, Los Angeles Times Magazine will cease production on June 3, Times spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan told TheWrap. 

The closure will result in layoffs, Sullivan said, but she declined to say how many people would lose their jobs. 

In a letter to Times employees, obtained by TheWrap, COO Kathy Thomson thanked staff for their work on the publication, but implied that a changing economy prevented the magazine from continuing. 

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"Many of you have been involved in the various incarnations of The Times’ Sunday magazine — it has taken on several different titles and wonderful forms over the years," Thomson wrote. "However, the entire magazine industry has been faced with a very challenging environment. We are not immune to the challenges and have made the decision that LA, Los Angeles Times Magazine will publish its final issue on June 3rd."

The Times’ Sunday magazine has appeared under different titles over the years, and the paper has endured periods without a magazine. Its current incarnation was launched in July, 2008.

In the staff memo, Thomson wrote that in place of the magazine, the Times was planning to develop a new special quarterly publication focused on luxury, design, fashion and style. 

"The publication will highlight seasonal trends and occasions with print, digital and mobile iterations intended to further enhance our feature coverage and deepen our connection with our members and advertising partners," Thomson wrote.

Here's the full text of the letter to staff:

Colleagues:

I’m writing today to inform you of a key change we are undertaking and provide a few updates.

Many of you have been involved in the various incarnations of The Times’ Sunday magazine–it has taken on several different titles and wonderful forms over the years. However, the entire magazine industry has been faced with a very challenging environment. We are not immune to the challenges and have made the decision that LA, Los Angeles Times Magazine will publish its final issue on June 3rd.

I’d like to acknowledge Nancie Clare, Rip Georges, Mayer Rus and the entire LATM team’s excellent work and dedication these past few years. The magazine’s signature cover stories and stunning fashion photography have generated buzz among tastemakers, advertisers, readers and high-profile media outlets. LATM has garnered recognition including the RFK Center for Journalism Award for International Photography and multiple awards from the Society for News Design. Its unique juxtaposition of high and low culture and compelling mix of stories and essays has made it a definitive handbook for life in Southern California. The magazine’s website, Facebook and Twitter will remain active through the end of the June with clients, fans and followers gradually transitioned to the relevant lifestyle coverage in The Times.

We are in the process of developing a new special quarterly product focused on luxury, design, fashion and style. The publication will highlight seasonal trends and occasions with print, digital and mobile iterations intended to further enhance our feature coverage and deepen our connection with our members and advertising partners.

We also have a number of featured-related efforts underway or currently being planned, which include:
·         Saturday: advertisers and readers are increasingly embracing our go-to guide for food and dining,health and fitness and home and design. We have great feedback from our members who are connecting with the refreshing editorial tone and it is performing well financially.
·         Our fourth ebook, SoCal Close-Ups, will make our award-winning travel content available in a portable format well suited to exploration.
·         Rock/Style, our music and fashion extravaganza, enters its third year with Macy’s as its presenting sponsor and its second year at hipster hangout the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
·         The TASTE will further cement its Labor Day beachhead in its second year and our programming will reflect a heightened L.A.-centric “flavor” inspired by our outstanding food coverage.

Please join me in thanking the talented LATM team for their efforts and know that your continued hard work is appreciated.

Kathy