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Mar 30, 2007

PR Interview: How to Star in the LA Times

SUMMARY: Want to find out how to be featured in a publication with a total daily reach of 2.81 million readers? We asked Los Angeles Times Deputy Business Editor Davan Maharaj what you need to do to get your name in the country's second-largest metropolitan newspaper. The business section targets decision-makers and offers the latest news, economy analysis, mergers, acquisitions and reports.
Contact information:
Davan Maharaj
Deputy Business Editor
Business Section
Los Angeles Times
202 West 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 237-5991

Maharaj received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Tennessee and his master’s from Yale Law School. His work at the LA Times began in 1989. His six-part series “Living on Pennies” earned him the 2005 Ernie Pyle Award for reporting on poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. He has been in his current position since February 2007.

- Largest reported: 1.17 million (Audit Bureau of Circulations' FAS-FAX ending Sept. 30, 2006)
- Total average paid Sunday: 1.23 million (six months ending March 31, 2006)
- Total average paid Monday-Friday: 851,832 (six months ending March 31, 2006)
- 2.2 million daily readers
- 3.3 million Sunday readers

Typical reader:
- Median household income: $83,000
- Median age: 42
- 73% own a home
- 26% have portfolios of $100,000+
- 71% are college graduates
- 51% are female

Current editorial coverage
The weekday edition contains six sections: Main News, California, Business, Sports, Calendar and Classified. Sunday’s expanded edition also includes: Book Review, Sunday Calendar, Comics, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Current (opinion), Real Estate, Travel and TV Times. Five weekly features: Health (Monday), Food (Wednesday), Highway 1 (Wednesday), Home (Thursday) and Calendar Weekend (Thursday).
The site attracts 5.1 million monthly visitors. It is part of Tribune Interactive and Classified, a Tribune Company division with more than 50 websites. has more than 4 million registered users, and it gets 50 million page views per month.

Online content includes Web-exclusive columns, online news debates, columnist chats, editorial blog, video, audio and interactive graphics. In addition, the site offers digitized pages of the paper from 1881, indexed clip files from 1935 to 1984 and hard-copy photographs dating from the late 1800s.

Content transformation
Starting in mid April 2007, the Sunday Business Section will adhere to the ongoing day-of-the-week themed strategy, which includes Small Business on Wednesday and International Trade on Saturday. "Your Money" will feature improved consumer information and personal finance content, such as how-to stories on investing, savings strategies and tax planning.

The popular "Money Makeover" feature will return once a month, providing readers with the opportunity to have their financial situations assessed by a professional advisor. Columnists Tom Petruno and Kathy Kristof will host "Marketbeat" and "Personal Finance." Liz Pulliam Weston's "Money-Talk" column will be refocused and address finance issues for 18-35 year olds in her first few columns. In addition, every Sunday Business will profile a business leader.

RSS feed
My LA Times is a free customizable news feed service using RSS technology to provide readers with a flexible way to obtain information.

3 tips on how to pitch the LA Times
#1. It’s unwise to email the business editor before familiarizing yourself with the issue. Maharaj says the best way to get your message across is to contact specific editors who focus on your topic. Get to know the publication so you’re familiar with what kind of material each editor covers. If you know which editor or reporter you would like to get in touch with, follow the format Firstname(dot)Lastname(at)latimes(dot)com.

#2. Send an exclusive email with an engaging, specific subject line to an appropriate editor. “It has to be very interesting and stand out since we receive dozens a day,” Maharaj says.

#3. Avoid cold calling editors since they are usually busy and don’t want to be interrupted. One of Maharaj’s biggest pet peeves is “people who keep going on when I tell them I’m on deadline.” It’s much better to send a concise email. This way, an editor can attend to it at his or her convenience. Plus, if you contact the wrong person, the format is convenient for forwarding to someone more suitable.

Contribute to the LA Times
Have something to share and not sure which editor should hear your information? Send a brief email containing your idea to the editor [letters(at)latimes(dot)com]. The mailbox for business editors can be reached at biz(dot)letters(at)latimes(dot)com.

If you have comments, you can fill out this feedback form:

Press kits
The paper requests that you send “well-written individual letters only.” They specifically ask that you refrain from sending group letters and attachments. We’re guessing they don’t think highly of generic press kits.

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