National Journal to stop publishing magazine

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Photo by Jordan G. Pittman

National Journal, an outlet that has long been associated with the inner-workings of Washington and Capitol Hill, announced Thursday that it will cease publication of its magazine at the end of the year.

The weekly magazine, which is owned by Atlantic Media, is just too slow in the high-speed world of the digital news cycle, owner David Bradley said in a memo to his staff.

The announcement was startling for Washington news junkies and journalists for whom the National Journal was an essential institution.

Bradley, the chairman of Atlantic Media and the owner of National Journal, said in a lengthy memo to colleagues that he made a decision that the National Journal "should move the whole of its journalism to the higher-velocity work" of two of the magazine's daily publications -- "National Journal Daily" and "Hotline" -- and to the website, NationalJournal.com.

The decision to end publication of the magazine, which follows similar moves by other outlets, is the latest reminder of the harsh economic realities for print media.

Read David Bradley's memo here.

But Bradley said the decision was driven by other factors. He said news in the nation's capital, which has faced growing competition in recent years by websites like Politico, "now moves too quickly for a weekly publication."

Bradley took personal responsibility, saying he believes he "failed.""A few years back (before virtually any of you was in place), distracted from National Journal's work, I took both my eyes and hands off the task," Bradley said in his memo. "In the long run, I don't think a weekly print magazine can thrive. Still, had I not failed for a time in my role, I think National Journal might have prospered longer."

Bradley said he doesn't "assign any fault to our editors and writers."

"The problems here were strategic -- and mine entirely," he said.

Bradley sought to ease concerns of National Journal staff members, telling them he has "never left anyone 'on the street.'" Those who can't be reassigned within the National Journal would have help finding new jobs, he said.

Launched in 1969, National Journal was acquired by Bradley in 1997.

Over the years, the magazine has published work from a long list of prominent Washington journalists and pundits, including Ron Fournier and CBS News' Major Garrett.

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