National Journal busies itself covering politics and policy, areas in which presentation skills are paramount. To judge from a note to readers from National Journal Editor in Chief Tim Grieve, the magazine has learned its subject area. The note breaks the news — softly — that the publication is coming out less frequently in 2014.
It reads, in part: “We’re taking a hard look at this magazine, and we’re going to make some changes. We published 42 issues last year, and this year we’re going to publish 32. It’s a reflection of the realities of the magazine business, but it’s also a statement about our priorities: We want to spend more on reporting and analysis, less on printing and delivery trucks.
So we’re investing where it counts. We’re working on a major redesign—from the look of the cover to the rigor of the reporting inside. We’re hiring more writers and editors; we’re dramatically expanding our budget for outside contributors like Peter Beinart (p. 16); and we’re expanding our capacity to produce special issues like last week’s on Gay Washington and next week’s on our congressional vote ratings.Through all the changes, our mission remains the same: to produce high-impact journalism and high-utility services for our members and subscribers. That’s the promise of National Journal, and it’s one we’re going to keep.”
That’s much more readable than the circulation statement from the Jan. 25 National Journal: “Published weekly, except for two weeks in January, one week in February, one week in March, two weeks in April, two weeks in May, one week in June, one week in July, four weeks in August, one week in September, one week in October, two weeks in November, and the last two weeks of December…” Such tortured language, together with a similar iteration from CQ Weekly, point to the need for a new English word to describe a publication sliding from weekly to biweekly. Quasiweekly? Weakly?