As Sunset magazine struggles, we look back at the California icon

Dec 4, 2018

Sunset magazine Christmas cover from December 1902


According to the Los Angeles Times, the 120 year old Western living guide Sunset Magazine is in trouble.

Various editors have quit in the last few months, while some writers are still awaiting on paychecks.

The lifestyle magazine was started by Southern Pacific Railroad to push westward travel. At its peak, it was a platform for decor, travel writing and literary investigations, aiming to take on the role of teaching people how to live in the space of the West.

We look back at the significance and history of Sunset Magazine and its role in the development of the American West, as well as its current struggle to survive as a glossy in the digital age.


Bill Deverell, professor of history and director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West at the University of Southern California

Ken Doctor, media analyst who focuses on the transformation of consumer media in the digital age; he is the author of “Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get” (St. Martin’s Press, 2010)

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