Long time business journalist Mark Lachter dies at age 59

 

Mark Lachter panelist at labj

Mark Lachter, then Editor, LABJ at PRSALA workshop.

MARK LACHTER, one of the toughest business editors I’ve known for more than a decade was one of the most respectable and an “all business” journalist in SoCal has died after suffering complications from a stroke on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.  According to LA Observed and his wife, Laura Levine.  He “could not survive the bleeding on his brain, ” Levin said.  Lachter was 59 and died at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. “He was the best hubby, ” Levine told the LA Biz Observed.

Mark Lachter was the editor of LA Biz Observed and a regular contributor to Los Angeles magazine, specializing in Southern California business. His work appeared in Fast Company, Inc. and the Financial Times. In addition, he was the business analyst for KPCC-FM. Before that he was editor of the Los Angeles Business Journal and a senior editor at Forbes covering media and entertainment. Previously Lachter worked at the San Francisco Chronicle, Investor’s Business Daily and the Los Angeles Daily News.  In 2005, Mark was named by the Society of Professional Journalists  as Distinguished Journalist of the Year. He had resided in Westwood, CA.

According to the LA Biz Observed, “Lachter started posting his coverage of the business scene, media and politics at LA Biz Observed in 2006 — he wrote more than 10,000 posts, many of which explained the complexities of business and economics or chided local officials for an assortment of failings. His final posts went up on Tuesday and reflected the range of topics he could weigh in on with authority: his reading of the 28-page agreement between American Airlines, U.S. Airways and the Justice Department and what it would mean at LAX; a quick update on the SoCal housing market; and his explainer on Amazon.com’s push for faster and faster LA deliveries.”

PRSA LA MEDIA WORKHSOP WITH MARK LACHTER, FORBES, ENTERPRENEUR MAGAZINE EDITORS

PRSALA Media Workshop: (l-R) Moderator from BM, Karen Axelton, Entrepreneur; Seth Lubove, Forbes; Mark Lacter, editor, LABJ and Bureau Chief Jonathan Friedland, WSJ.

I remember covering a media workshop (May 20, 2003)  put on by PRSA-LA, entitled, “Pitching Top Tier Business Editors”. It was also published on ODWYERPR.com, NY. Mark Lachter, then editor, Los Angeles Business Journal (LABJ) was one of the panelist. I will never forget what he told us:

“Be careful what you wish for in good publicity.”
Lacter offered these tips:

“Don’t pitch stuff that’s in other papers. Be aware that the LABJ comes out Mondays, so if your news conference is Wednesday or Thursday, it will kind of be in the dead zone for us. Get to know the paper and see what kind of stories we do. Be careful what you wish for, because once you do make a pitch, and somebody bites, there’s going to a chance that what you were original hoping to get into the paper is going to be a good deal different.

Fact is you’re going to have a reporter snooping around and coming up with all kinds of stuff that you or your clients certainly didn’t anticipate. Always be aware that getting publicity is one thing, but having a reporter really looking into your underthings is something else.” – Mark Lachter, business editor, LABJ, May 20,. 2003.

I remember the wakeup call for publicists that day, but luckily at that time I had one of the best business resources in town by the name of Chief Economist Jack Kyser, Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC).  Kyser was the “Go-To” economist for all media and luckily for me Lachter loved him for his hard facts and numbers on the economic impact of everything business in Los Angeles. Kyser was the first to say the 2008, three-month Writer’s Guild Strike cost Hollywood $2.5 billion. 

I remember getting Kyser and other business stories in LABJ the week after writing about Lachter and later he would call me for business stories he was working on. At that time LAEDC became a great resource for him. Later his boss and Publisher Matt Toledo became LAEDC’s Chair of the Board, but it was still hard to get stories into the publication unless Lachter gave us a thumbs up.

Mark Lachter was truly one of the best in the business in ethics and balance when it came to journalism. Lachter knew his stuff and everyone in the business community respected him and the CEO’s and PR folks who knew better always returned his calls, good, bad or ugly, because they knew he was fair. I personally will miss him and I know he will be dearly missed by his friends, colleagues and the business community. I salute Mark Lachter and may he rest in peace. My prayers and thoughts go out to his wife and family.
Services are pending.

 

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