Editor’s Note: About the Redesigned National Journal Magazine

National Journal
Richard Just
June 18, 2014, 4 p.m.

Nation­al Journ­al magazine has a stor­ied his­tory, and if you live and breathe policy and polit­ics, then you know why. Scru­pu­lously non­par­tis­an, in­tel­lec­tu­ally hon­est, genu­inely ser­i­ous about gov­ern­ment and about ideas, Na­tion­al Journ­al has al­ways been a pub­lic­a­tion that every­one in D.C. could trust.

Those are the es­sen­tial val­ues that we wanted to take for­ward in­to the new Na­tion­al Journ­al. But we also knew that a lot about the magazine had to change. So many of the things that Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s print magazine was long known for are now be­ing done on our highly suc­cess­ful web­site — in great­er volume and with great­er speed than the magazine ever could have man­aged.

Yet we didn’t, and don’t, think the In­ter­net has made print ob­sol­ete. It has simply chal­lenged magazine ed­it­ors to ask them­selves: What is print still for?

(Harry Camp­bell)We’ve come up with a few an­swers to that ques­tion. A print magazine, we be­lieve, is for nar­rat­ive writ­ing that is beau­ti­fully craf­ted and deeply re­por­ted. It’s for journ­al­ism that takes big ideas ser­i­ously. It’s for long pieces that feel short be­cause they’re truly fun to read. It’s for telling stor­ies that are com­plic­ated and nu­anced — as al­most all stor­ies worth know­ing are. It’s for de­scrib­ing the char­ac­ters, fam­ous or un­known, who shape Amer­ic­an demo­cracy — and for un­der­stand­ing their agen­das, their mo­tiv­a­tions, their flaws, their strengths. It’s for pub­lish­ing es­tab­lished, bril­liant writers, and also for dis­cov­er­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of storytelling stars.

Fi­nally, we be­lieve that es­sen­tial to the ex­per­i­ence of read­ing a great print magazine is a beau­ti­ful design — el­eg­ant fonts, strik­ing il­lus­tra­tions, ex­cel­lent pho­to­graphy. Joseph Heroun bril­liantly re­con­ceived the magazine’s over­all look and cre­ated the stun­ning designs that fill the pages of our first is­sue. At the same time, we also wanted to re­ima­gine how we present our magazine pieces on­line. Jenny Mazer did a fant­ast­ic job of de­vis­ing an eye-catch­ing new di­git­al format for these pieces.

There are plenty of magazines that use the ap­proach to journ­al­ism we are now em­phas­iz­ing — that fo­cus on long-form writ­ing and great storytelling and out­stand­ing art. But there are no magazines that use this ap­proach to re­lent­lessly fo­cus on the world of policy and polit­ics — and that are broadly trus­ted across the polit­ic­al spec­trum. That is the kind of pub­lic­a­tion we aim to pro­duce.

For our first is­sue, we wanted to tell the stor­ies of some of the char­ac­ters and ideas that are likely to define the 2016 elec­tion. We hope you won’t miss any of these fea­ture pieces:

A Uni­fied The­ory of Hil­lary: To un­der­stand what kind of pres­id­ent she would be, con­sider that her greatest suc­cesses and worst fail­ures have the same ex­plan­a­tion. By Peter Bein­art

He Shall Not Be Moved: There’s no ob­vi­ous reas­on that Scott Walk­er should be pres­id­ent. And yet. By Tim Al­berta

“I’m Right and Every­body Else Is Wrong. Clear About That?” Bernie Sanders will likely rep­res­ent the hard-line Left in 2016. Will he help or hurt the move­ment? By Si­mon van Zuylen-Wood

Rand Paul’s New Con­fid­ant: Why the Ken­tucky sen­at­or and Nate Mor­ris be­came fast friends. By Shane Gold­mach­er

The Gonzo Op­tion: Bri­an Sch­weitzer is a one-man chal­lenge to the scrip­ted nature of mod­ern polit­ics. But just how much can you run your mouth while run­ning for pres­id­ent? By Mar­in Cogan

1952 All Over Again: It’s been more than six dec­ades since Re­pub­lic­an non­in­ter­ven­tion­ists were this in­flu­en­tial. They lost the battle to con­trol the party then — and chances are, they’re go­ing to lose this time, too. By Mi­chael Ger­son

In ad­di­tion, make sure to check out our short­er polit­ic­al nar­rat­ives, which we are fea­tur­ing in our new front-of-the-book sec­tion, The In­ner Loop:

The De­mise of Dixville Notch: And the un­cer­tain fu­ture of an odd polit­ic­al tra­di­tion. By Alex Seitz-Wald

The Biden Dyn­asty: What you can learn about Joe from get­ting to know Beau. By Nora Ca­plan-Brick­er

Why is Rick San­tor­um run­ning a movie stu­dio? By Kev­in Lin­coln

To pro­duce a ter­rif­ic magazine 32 times a year will be no easy task, but we are lucky to have some of the best magazine minds in the busi­ness steer­ing the ship — es­pe­cially our deputy ed­it­or, An­die Coller, and our man­aging ed­it­or, Aman­da Cormi­er. All of us are look­ing for­ward to cre­at­ing the new Na­tion­al Journ­al week after week for our mem­bers and sub­scribers. The magazine we are build­ing is one that we think Wash­ing­ton needs. More than any­thing, we hope it’s a magazine you en­joy.

Richard Just

Ed­it­or, Na­tion­al Journ­al magazine

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