By Tamara El
The latest in a growing number of periodicals avoiding print in favor of digital, Jet magazine now joins the list of companies who prefer to modernize their magazine publications. Jet Magazines owner, Johnson Publishing Company, will be moving the magazine to a largely digitized format starting in June, delivered through the companies website and paid subscription app. To reduce cost last year Johnson Publishing reduced the weekly publication schedule of the digest-sized magazine to every three weeks.
Now there will only be an annual “best of Jet” print issue. Chairwoman of Johnson Publishing, Linda Johnson Rice, who also owns the cosmetic line that is popularly known to the masses as Fashion Fair, wants to bring Jet Magazine up to speed and into the modern age.
“Almost 63 years ago my father, John Johnson, named the publication Jet because, as he said in the first issue, ‘In the world today, everything is moving faster. There is more news and far less time to read it.” Ms. Rice said, “He could not have spoken truer words. We are not saying goodbye to Jet, we are embracing the future as my father did in 1951”.
In moving to digital, Jet joins other magazines who have as of recent, reduced or either eliminated its’ print publications after a decline in print and advertising revenue.
Desiree Rogers, Chief Executive of Johnson Publishing joined the company in 2010, after serving as the White House Social secretary of the Obama administration is quoted saying, “African-Americans skew higher than the rest of the population in getting their news from mobile devices.” She went on to say, “readers are demanding more interactive content and the digital format will allow them to vote, for example, on who should be in the popular weekly feature the Beauty of the Week”.
Mr. Johnson started Jet Magazine 5 years after Ebony Magazine. The publication was billed as “The Weekly Negro News Magazine” and was specifically known for being more news-driven than Ebony. With the magazine having notoriety during the civil rights era for covering the case of Emmett Till. In 1955, they published photographs of Emmett Till’s mutilated body, and caused many people to become more involved in the movement.
As the magazine evolved over the years and in its later years, Jet became known as the place where African-Americans would announce marriages and anniversaries, coining the slogan, “If it isn’t in Jet, it didn’t happen”, which still holds true to this day.