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The Nation magazine sold

By
BERNARD CULLEN

NEW YORK -- The Nation magazine, a mainstay in liberal journalism for more than a century, has been sold for an undisclosed sum, the publication announced Tuesday.

The Nation Company, which took formal possession of the magazine last Friday, is headed by two of the previous owners and Connecticut millionaire publisher Arthur Carter.

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Editor Victor Navasky said the change in ownership should result in better funding for the financially troubled publication and will eventually enable it to increase the number of investigative articles it publishes.

'We hope the new arrangement will strengthen our ability to influence the political culture and to pay our bills,' Navasky said, adding, 'This change will make things easier, although it will still be a struggle.'

Navasky said the publication has had a deficit 'in the low six-figures' for years. He said the deficit has continued despite a rise in the weekly's circulation from 20,000 to 65,000 over the last eight years.

The magazine was owned by Nation Enterprises, which had been headed by Navasky, Publisher Hamilton Fish and about 50 smaller investors.

Under the new arrangement, the group of smaller investors will be replaced by Carter. Carter, Navasky and Fish will head The Nation Company and run the magazine.

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No purchase price was disclosed, although Navasky said Carter has promised to cover the magazine's deficit for 'the next several years.'

The move, Navasky said, will enable Fish to spend more time directing the publication's editorial functions and less acting as a fund raiser to cover the deficit.

Navasky said Carter will have nothing to do with the day-to-day operations of the publication.

'Mr. Carter in the years ahead is going to invest money in the magazine. That's basically where his interest in the magazine will be,' Navasky said.

Carter, a former Wall Street investment banker and editor of the Litchfield County Times in New Milford, Conn., said his move is both financially and politically inspired.

'The opinion side is very important, and I wouldn't have invested if I didn't share the approach to journalism that they have. But maybe it can become profitable too,' Carter said.

Carter made his fortune in Wall Street in the 1960s before branching out into a variety of enterprises that included real estate, manufacturing and jewelry.

A published report estimated Carter's net worth in 1984 at $50 to 150 million.

The Litchfield County Times, with a circulation of about 10,000, represents Carter's first venture into publishing. His paper has won numerous national and regional awards for content, design and photography.

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Village Voice columnist Alexander Cockburn recently joined the staff of The Nation. Cockburn was fired from the Voice in a dispute his alleged pro-Arab bias in his stories on Israeli affairs.

The Nation was founded in 1865, partly as an outgrowth of the anti-slavery movement. Its writers have included William and Henry James, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

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