The National Journal a nonpartisan Washington political weekly, is one of eight publications named by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism to receive a National Magazine Award.

The awards, generally regarded as the most prestigious in the magazine field, were established in 1965 by the American Society of Magazine Editors. They are financed by grants from the Magazine Publishers Association and administered by Columbia. Each magazine received a silver plaque and a reproduction of Calder's abstract sculpture "Elephant."

The National Journal, according to publisher John Sullivan, was founded 10 years ago for "the people in government, the people who make policy, the people who influence policy-interest groups, lobbies, etc.-and the people who follow it all in the media.

"Conceptually, National Journal is meant to be a very sophisticated, almost 'trade' magazine for people involved in politics, in the very best sense of that word," Sullivan said. "We try to mix hard information that the readers can use each week with longer analytic pieces."

Sullivans, editor Dick Frank and the staff were honored in the category of specialized journalism for what the judges called "an extraordinary weekly report on developments in national politics and government." The citation mentioned, as an example, a National Journal article on federal spending for the elderly and the extent to which the increasing proportion of older citizens in the United States will affect the federal budget.

New West magazine won in the public service category for "Hell on Wheels" by Moira Johnston, which focused on defects in Firestone's 500 series steel-belted radial tires. The government ordered recall of the tires, contending they caused numerous high-speed highway accidents.

Texas Montly received the reporting award for a three-part series by Richard West on "life in three disparate areas of the biggest mainland state. . .a significant sociological document."

The Atlantic Montly won the fiction award for Richard Yates' short story, "Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired." Life magazine was honored in the essays and critcism category for publishing Malcolm Cowley's "The View From 80," which the judges called "a stylish, unsentimental view of what it is to grow old."

A new category, single-topic issues, was taken by Progressive Architecture "for a witty and instructive issue on Taste in America, calling the attention of design professions to the realities, appalling or admirable, of human preferences."

The American Journal of Nursing was cited in the category of "service of the individual." Audubon was honored for visual excellence.