The American Prospect: ‘The Gush is Warranted’

The American Prospect has a new editor. It’s Kit Rachlis, former Editor-in-Chief of L.A. Weekly and most recently Editor of Los Angeles Magazine. Previous employment includes LAT and The Village Voice, where he was Executive Editor. He began his career reviewing albums for Rolling Stone. Rachlis was born in Paris but raised in Manhattan.

Rachlis is currently a Senior Fellow at the Center on Communication Leadership and Policy at the Annenberg School for Communication at USC. He begins the new position on April 18 after relocating to Washington from LA.

Weird detail: He’s a cheese connoisseur who has volunteered at an LA cheese shop and judged cheese competitions.

Harold Meyerson, editor-at-large, announces the news early Thursday in a memo to “friends.”

“I know I’m gushing,” Meyerson wrote. “Believe me, the gush is warranted.”

Get the details..

From: Harold Meyerson
Date: Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Subject: The American Prospect has a new editor

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to alert you to a terrific development here at The American Prospect. Today (Thursday), we are announcing that come mid-April, the magazine will have a new editor – my old boss at the L.A. Weekly, Kit Rachlis.

Kit is quite simply the most talented editor I’ve ever worked for or with, or even just known. And the list of my editors, which includes Irving Howe and Bob Kuttner, is pretty damn impressive in itself.

After starting out as a reporter and critic at The Boston Phoenix, Kit became the deputy editor of The Village Voice in the mid-80s. In 1988, he moved to Los Angeles to become editor of L.A. Weekly, where he built a terrific and diverse stable of writers, including novelist Steve Erickson, policy analyst Richard Rothstein, and the young Ruben Martinez. At a time when the L.A. Times wasn’t really doing much local coverage at all, Kit steered us to cover the new Latino immigrant population, the new generation of largely Latino labor leaders, and the rising labor-Latino alliance that would transform California politics in the years that followed. He directed coverage of the ’92 L.A. riots, of the early ‘90s recession (quite deep in Southern California), and of the ’92 presidential contest that included a good number of award-winning pieces (as did our arts and cultural coverage).

Later in the ‘90s, Kit was the editor in charge of long-form, front-page news and feature stories (some of which won Pulitzers) at the L.A. Times, and from 2000 to 2009, he was editor of Los Angeles Magazine – a glossy city magazine he infused with so much smart arts criticism and political coverage that it was a finalist eight times during his tenure for a National Magazine Award. He’s also edited several books, including Peter Guralnick’s volumes on Elvis.

Kit combines what I consider to be an unparalleled level of magazine (and magazine website) savvy with a deep commitment to and understanding of progressive politics and the Prospect’s place in advancing it. He’s engendered great work and deep loyalty from several generations of writers, and the appreciation of readers wherever he’s worked. The Prospect, and American liberalism, is fortunate to have him.

I know I’m gushing. Believe me, the gush is warranted.

With best wishes,

Harold Meyerson
Editor at Large