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Dueling Attitudes : Is this town big enough for more than one glossy monthly? Let's ask the editors of Los Angeles, Buzz

September 23, 1993|BOB SIPCHEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

(Los Angeles magazine's audited circulation of just over 155,000 monthly for the first half of 1993--down 10,000 from last year--is about twice that of Buzz's unverified sales. L.A. magazine also leads in critical advertising-page count, again by about 2-1.)

Terry McDonell, former editor of Esquire, asks why neither has gained the sort of must-read credibility that New York and the New Yorker have on the other coast. One reason, he surmises: "Both magazines seem a little bit more eccentric than one would expect from regional magazines."

A great regional magazine, he says, must fill a void newspapers invariably leave in their more hurried coverage. Readers must eagerly await a magazine's thoughtful, fresh, personal take on the big stories of the day.

Harris argues that Los Angeles magazine does just that. He cites his magazine's story that led the pack in saying that the McMartin preschool defendants would be acquitted, and one about Hollywood's high-powered publicists that was imitated, he says, by 80 other publications.

Despite such efforts, Harris concedes the "media community" has never held his publication in high journalistic regard.

Still, he says, "I don't think Buzz gets any more respect than we do. I think you'll find most people are as perplexed by Buzz as I am."

With a wan smile, he adds: "So maybe we are in competition: Who can be looked at more askew by the media community?"

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