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The king of black & white advertising is embracing four color.

Dow Jones & Co., in the midst of an $80 million upgrading for its 17 printing plants, said that by fall it will be able to offer four-color capability to advertisers in its flagship newspaper The Wall Street Journal and the weekly magazine Barron's.

Barron's will be first to splash into four color with a test run of a single ad in June, followed by a limited number of color ads in July and August. "We'll be offering full color on a regular basis by September," said Robert Paradise, director of magazine.

The Journal has set Oct. 1 as its target date for making four-color ads available. The message will be carried to agencies in May and June, said Paul Atkinson, director of advertising. "The motivation is not to change the essential character of the WSJ as a long copy, highly efficient black & white ad medium," Mr. Atkinson said. "Our object is to offer advertisers an option."

Smith Barney media analyst John S. Reidy said: "We view such investments as revenue enhancing over the long term because it can broaden the base of advertisers."

Final ad rates haven't been set yet.

At Barron's, a color page ad is expected by Dow Jones insiders to cost about $22,000, vs. the current one-time b&w page rate of $18,311.

Mr. Atkinson estimated that four-color ad rates at the Journal will probably be set at 20% to 30% above the current b&w page rate of $120,000.

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