Over the years -- the decades -- the Nation has campaigned against Boss Tweed; argued for the creation of the NAACP; urged the release of conscientious objectors imprisoned during World War I; urged a new trial for Sacco and Vanzetti, the Italian anarchists whose 1921 murder convictions became a cause celebre for the American left; fought McCarthyism; opposed the war in Vietnam, editorialized early and fervently in favor of civil rights, feminism and the environment; and opposed both the Gulf War and the war in Iraq. (As a measure of both its longevity and its ideology, the Nation is happy to remind readers that President Theodore Roosevelt -- a Republican -- once warned of the "fearful mental degeneracy" that would result from "reading [the Nation] as a steady thing.")
Although advertising will account for only about 10% of the magazine's estimated $10 million revenue this year, that money also contributes to the magazine's improved bottom line; this will be the first year the Nation has ever surpassed $1 million in ad income.
The Nation will take in an additional $1.4 million by year's end from Nation Associates, readers who donate $5 to $5,000 each, beyond their annual subscription fees. There are about 25,000 Nation Associates; three years ago, there were 13,000.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday January 11, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 54 words Type of Material: Correction
The Nation -- The Media Matters column in the Dec. 26 Calendar section said circulation for the Nation was 28,000 when Victor Navasky became publisher. The correct number is 83,000. Also, the terms under which Navasky purchased the magazine required him to pay 6% interest, not 16%, as the column quoted Navasky as saying.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday January 16, 2005 Home Edition Sunday Calendar Part E Page 2 Calendar Desk 1 inches; 52 words Type of Material: Correction
The Nation magazine -- The Media Matters column on Dec. 26 said circulation for the Nation had been 28,000 when Victor Navasky became publisher. The correct number was 83,000. Also, the terms under which Navasky purchased the magazine required him to pay 6% interest, not 16% as the column quoted Navasky saying.
The other major factor in the Nation's brighter financial picture is the magazine's annual seven-day "seminar cruise," which -- this year -- ended Dec. 12. More than 600 readers and fans -- the most in the seven-year history of the event -- signed up to listen to speeches and presentations by such Nation contributors and friends as Navasky, vanden Heuvel, Jonathan Schell, Calvin Trillin, Molly Ivins, William Greider and Robert Scheer while they cruised the eastern Caribbean.
Passengers paid an average of $2,000 each -- the price depended on cabin location -- and Navasky says the magazine nets about $750 a head; that adds up to a profit of about $450,000 from this year's cruise alone.
At 72, Navasky is much less directly involved in the editorial operation of the Nation than he once was. So he's had time -- finally -- to finish the book he was working on when he bought the Nation in 1994.
Titled "A Matter of Opinion," it combines his personal journalistic adventures (and misadventures) with his analysis of what he calls "the role of journals of opinion in the modern media world." It will be published in May. Maybe Navasky will read excerpts aloud during next year's Nation cruise. On the other hand, I'd rather listen to Trillin.
David Shaw can be reached at email@example.com. To read his previous "Media Matters" columns, please go to latimes.com/shaw-media.