CHICAGO (CBS) – “Ebony” magazine has been around since 1945. Since then, it has changed considerably.
But it’s biggest changes yet are happening right now. Jet Publishing is re-launching the iconic magazine and giving it a whole new look. And the woman behind the changes is getting a re-launch of her own.
It’s been 15 months since Desiree Rogers left her post as White House social secretary in the wake of the now-infamous Salahi gate-crashing scandal.
Ebony and Jet magazines were the dream of John H. Johnson more than 60 years ago, to “showcase the black personality and achievements devoid of stereotypes.”
But, like every other horse in the publishing race, the Chicago-based company is fighting for every reader.
“One of the things we we’re hearing from our customers and our consumers, our readers, really, was they were looking for something fresh,” Rogers told CBS 2’s Kate Sullivan.
So starting immediately you will see a whole new Ebony on newsstands. New cover. New graphics. Even different types of articles.
“People are saying less people are reading, although black Americans tend to spend a lot on publications,” Rogers says.
They spend an estimated $400 million. Ebony may be the premier black magazine, but it’s also facing a crossroads to attract new readers.
“I think for the first time I’m seeing more and more non-blacks interested in what’s happening in the black community,” Rogers says.
Rogers credits her days at the White House for preparing her for her new role. She says she doesn’t miss the old job.
“I do not. I think it prepared me for where I am and that’s the reason, part of the reason, that I couldn’t tell that at the time,” she says. “But I think that was part of what the calling was.”
And now the calling is a chance to elevate this premier black platform even higher.
“We’re being called to be part of a new movement that really brings together the black American community. And hopefully we can do some good with that,” she says.
More changes to the magazine include reaching out to digital users. Ebony is reaching out to readers on Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms. The magazine is adding different types of articles, including articles on spirituality, careers and home food and travel.