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Wall Street Journal: A must read for fashion, art?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Wall Street Journal showcased its latest attempt to broaden its appeal beyond the business reader on Wednesday -- introducing a new, glossy weekend magazine devoted to high fashion, preppy sports and luxury travel.

An undated handout photo released to Reuters on September 4, 2008 shows the cover of "WSJ." magazine. The Wall Street Journal showcased its latest attempt to broaden its appeal beyond the business reader on Wednesday -- introducing "WSJ.", a new, glossy weekend magazine devoted to high fashion, preppy sports and luxury travel. REUTERS/Wall Street Journal/Handout

Called WSJ., the magazine hits the market during a prolonged and serious slump in the publishing business, which has struggled to keep advertisers who would rather spend their increasingly limited marketing budgets elsewhere, particularly the Web.

Wall Street Journal executives say they gave no thought to delaying the magazine, however, and instead point out that the magazine expands the newspaper’s advertising base. When it launches September 6, the magazine will have 51 advertisers, of which 19 are new to the newspaper’s franchise.

“This is a phenomenal response in a very, very challenging market,” said Michael Rooney, chief revenue officer at the Wall Street Journal.

Similar in feel to the Financial Times’ “How to Spend It,” the Wall Street Journal rolls out its version of a lifestyle magazine to a circulation of 960,000. It will be included in the weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal in the United States and the Friday edition of the newspaper in Asia and Europe. WSJ. appears quarterly before becoming monthly in mid-2009.

Rooney said the magazine draws “the ultimate demographic,” describing a reader with an average household income of $265,000 and $2.9 million in assets, who took seven leisure trips last year and spent 16 days sailing.

A glossy 104 pages with advertisers such as Burberry, Louis Vuitton and British Airways, the initial issue is devoted to stories about rare mushrooms, fashion for dogs, folk art and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s workout routine.

While WSJ. editor-in-chief Tina Gaudoin promised the magazine would have the “DNA of the Journal running through its veins,” the magazine is nonetheless a departure from the breaking news and business features that have long been the backbone of the paper.

But the Wall Street Journal has undergone changes in look and content since News Corp acquired the newspaper when it bought Dow Jones for more than $5 billion last year.

Already, the paper has expanded its coverage of political, consumer and general news and is expected next year to move its offices to midtown Manhattan from its current location near Wall Street, the financial heart of New York.

Further changes are coming as soon as next week, with the expected redesign of the WSJ.com website.

Editing by Andre Grenon

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