'NATIONAL JOURNAL' UNVEILS REDESIGN UNDER NEW OWNERS: D.C. WEEKLY HAS AGGRESSIVE PLANS TO GROW AD BASE AND CIRCULATION

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The National Journal's latest issue features a new design-and new owners with an aggressive plan to grow the weekly magazine.

National Journal Group President-Publisher John Fox Sullivan and investor David G. Bradley led a management buyout team that just completed the acquisition of the company from Times Mirror Co., which had owned it for 11 years.

'DRAMATIC INCREASE'

The redesign was planned before the acquisition got under way. The revamp was in part due to the hiring of Stephen G. Smith, former editor of Civilization, as editor in chief in January.

Mr. Bradley is the founder and chairman of the Advisory Board, a Washington publishing house specializing in management research. His investment allowed Messrs. Sullivan and Smith, along with National Journal Senior VP Steve Hull and National Journal Group VP Timothy B. Clark, to buy out Times Mirror. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

National Journal Group, which last year had $18 million in revenue, publishes the 6,600-circulation weekly, as well as newsletters, directories and the monthly Government Executive.

"We plan to dramatically increase the readership of the National Journal," Mr. Sullivan said. "The new ownership is very committed to growth and expansion . . . and we are prepared to put money into the company to see that happen."

The National Journal's new look, created by Tom Bentkowski, director of design for Time Inc.'s Life, reverses the maroon background-white typeface cover design that has been in place since 1977; it also increases the weight of the paper stock for the cover.

Major areas of editorial have been organized into "supersections" so that "Administration," "Congress," "Issues & Ideas," "Lobbying & Law" and "Politics" now are more accessible.

'IMPRESSED' WITH NEW LOOK

"I was very impressed with the new look. It's a lot less cluttered and easier to identify where to find information," said Sam Tornabene, director of communications for Edison Electric Institute, an advertiser. "When you look at the Washington, D.C., market, many people think of The Washington Post or Roll Call. But those have different strengths, they are more newsy. The National Journal is more contemplative. It's a different editorial environment that people are going to spend more time with to learn a mind-set on an issue."

5,000 EXTRA COPIES

The first four redesigned issues will distribute an extra 5,000 copies to raise awareness of the title in Congress and among Washington and New York media and the ad community, Mr. Sullivan said, adding that the goal is to capture new readers as well as new advertisers.

The magazine carries a mix of corporate image ads from companies such as International Paper Co., General Motors Corp. and Du Pont Co.; ads from lobbying groups; and Washington-oriented campaigns from marketers including MCI

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