'LAT' Weekly Culture Mag Closes Before It Opened

In another sign of financial troubles and management turmoil at the Los Angeles Times, LAetcetera -- a new weekly magazine covering Los Angeles-area culture, shopping, fashion and lifestyle, scheduled to debut this weekend -- was canceled before the first issue even appeared.

First announced about three weeks ago, on May 7, the magazine was originally scheduled to launch on May 10, but was delayed until May 24. Announcing the preemptive shuttering of the magazine, LAT Media Group Executive Vice President and Chief Managing Officer John T. O'Loughlin gave no explanation for the sudden reversal, only that it would be suspended "for the foreseeable future while we revise the overall L.A. planning calendar."

LAetcetera was supposed to be a spinoff of LA, Los Angeles Times Magazine, a monthly publication produced by the newspaper's business operations staff. But the plan may have been disrupted by turnover in the magazine staff: the LAT Media Group also revealed last week that the monthly magazine's publisher, Penn Jones, is leaving the company. Again, no explanation was given for Jones' departure, about a year after the publication launched.

The LATs publishers have long struggled to find the right shape and strategy for the newspaper's magazine publications. In 2006 they announced plans to scrap the existing weekly Los Angeles Times Magazine with a new weekly title, West (which actually resurrected the name of the paper's magazine in the 1960s and 1970s.

This version was scrapped in June 2007, replaced by a new monthly publication. Then in the summer of 2008, the monthly magazine was closed and replaced by a new publication, with a new editorial staff, entirely under the control of the Los Angeles Times Media Group. For ethical reasons, Russ Stanton -- the editor of the LAT -- requested that the Media Group not call itself the Los Angeles Times Magazine, since it is not under the control of the newspaper's editorial staff.

In March, the Los Angeles Times also said it is phasing out the print edition of Metromix, a nightlife and entertainment product targeting young adults.

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