Jay Levin

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Jay Levin
BornNew York
OccupationNewspaper editor, writer, entrepreneur
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Jay Levin
BornNew York
OccupationNewspaper editor, writer, entrepreneur

Jay Levin is an American journalist who was founder, editor and CEO of the LA Weekly, one of the seminal newspapers of the weekly alternative press in the United States, from 1978 to 1992.

Early life[edit]

Jay Levin was born in New York, the son of a tool-and-die maker. He worked for the New York Post and was also a freelance writer. Levin was hired in 1978 by Larry Flynt to edit the Los Angeles Free Press, which Flynt purchased at the end of that year.[1] Levin attempted to transform the Free Press, which had gone from a 1960s-style underground newspaper to one with a large adult advertising section, into a West Coast version of the Village Voice. Levin hired Texas writers Big Boy Medlin, Ginger Varney, and Michael Ventura, as well as Anita Hoffman (wife of then-fugitive Abbie Hoffman). (Levin's tenure at the Free Press was short, about ten weeks,[2] as Flynt’s wife Althea shut down the publication in 1978, following her husband’s shooting.)


Jay Levin is best known as the founder of the LA Weekly, of which he was editor-in-chief and president for many years before selling what he had grown to be the largest and most successful city weekly in the country. Levin put together an investment group that included actor Michael Douglas, Burt Kleiner, Joe Benadon and Pete Kameron. The publication was launched in December 1978 and the first issue featured a group of female comedians, including the then-little known Sandra Bernhard, on its cover. Subsequent issues featured exposés on the Los Angeles basin's air quality and U.S. interventionism in Central America. The LA Weekly was also notable for its early coverage of independent cinema and the Los Angeles punk rock scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Levin retained many of the writers he had brought to the Free Press and hired Joie Davidow to edit the arts and entertainment section. Davidow produced a comprehensive calendar section and explored undiscovered fashion districts, such as Melrose Avenue, discovering new designers.

In 1985, the LA Weekly launched a glossy magazine, L.A. Style, which Davidow edited. L.A. Style was sold to American Express Publishing Co. in 1988 and merged with Buzz magazine in 1993.[3]

By 1990, the LA Weekly achieved a circulation of 165,000, making it the largest urban weekly in the US.[4]

Post-LA Weekly[edit]

Levin stepped down as president of the LA Weekly in 1992 and was succeeded by Michael Sigman as publisher and Kit Rachlis as editor. The newspaper was sold to Stern Publishing, owner of the Village Voice, in 1994; in October 2005, it was sold to the Phoenix, Arizona-based Village Voice Media. In September 2012, it was transferred to the Denver-based Voice Media Group in a management buyout.[5]

Levin founded a start-up progressive cable television channel, Planet Central TV, and a website called Real Talk L.A.[6]

Recent career[edit]

For the last 15 years Levin has split his time between starting, growing or turning around media properties such as TheFix.com and life coaching focused on teaching life mastery; helping people reorient their lives, careers and relationships without spending years in therapy; and, most recently, on working with 15 to 20 CEOs on becoming socially conscious and effective managers while helping them elevate the bottom-line performance of their businesses and grow their companies.

Over the years Levin has worked with hundreds of individuals one-on-one. Encouraged by clients, he also began offering courses to hundreds of people in Life Elevation, relationships and leadership. Highly successful in terms of reorienting people’s lives, careers and inner and outer relations for the better, the courses (like his personal coaching) allow individuals to learn systems they can use to benefit themselves - in effect, participants learn to become their own coaches. Along with gaining mastery of inner emotional and mental demons, participants gain a sophisticated and necessary education in the realities of human inter-reaction and selfhood that the culture fails to provide en masse. Participants report learning tools that give them more confidence in nearly every situation and which make them better able to cope when challenged. [7]


External links[edit]