CHICAGO (CBS) — Ebony and Jet magazines will no longer be owned by a Chicago family.
A Texas firm bought Johnson Publishing, and CBS 2’s Jim Williams tells us what it means for the future of the magazines and their Chicago employees.
The news was shocking.
“I was like wow!” said veteran journalist Lee Bey. “Every bathroom had a Jet in it. The coffee table had Ebony.”
The publications covered every aspect of African American life and was published here in Chicago for more than 70 years.
“It was a national magazine but it had a Chicago heart,” Bey said.
Chicago employees will stay, CEO Linda Johnson-Rice says, and the new owner is an African-American private equity firm.
“They love Ebony. They love Jet. They’ve grown up with it, so they have an affinity for it, and that was very, very important to me,” Johnson-Rice told Williams.
Former Ebony managing editor Lynn Norment is relieved the new owners are black and understands why Johnson-Rice is selling her family’s company.
“She has to make tough decisions. It’s just a different media world.”
The media landscape has been changed by the Internet, which has driven down revenue for all publishing companies.
“The expectation from the consumer is that I can get it for free,” Bey said.
Linda Johnson-Rice says Ebony and Jet — online and in print — will thrive.
“There’s so much more to come. There’s so much more than just a magazine. As we say about Ebony, it’s more than a magazine, it’s a movement.”