After 71 years, the publishing company that we all know and love has come to an end due to debt.
Johnson Publishing was sold to a small firm called Clear View Group based out of Austin, Texas selling Ebony and JET magazine.
Johnson Publishing has been a family-owned business that has told the African-American story since 1945. The Chicago Tribune reports that the company has been struggling with “declining media revenues as it struggled to evolve from print to digital platforms.”
The new company’s name will proceed as Ebony Media Operations and the headquarters will remain in Chicago with their editorial staff being based in New York.
Ebony and JET magazine has been prominent in the African-Americans all over covering historic events from the civil rights to the past greatest all because of a dream by founder John H. Johnson.
Linda Johnson Rice, the daughter of Johnson will become the chairman emeritus as she was the chairman of Johnson Publishing.
“This is the next chapter in retaining the legacy that my father, John H. Johnson, built to ensure the celebration of African-Americans,” she said in a statement Tuesday.
This will be Clear View Group’s first big investment.
Thinking to myself, I’m consistently wondering, where is media going?
Ever since I did my 5th grade African-American black history report on John H. Johnson and living 15 minutes away from Chicago, I knew I wanted to work for that publishing company.
Every house I visited, Ebony and JET were staples on every living room table, in every mail stack, or in every bathroom and I knew if I wrote for them, my stories will be read.
Reading JET on the anniversary of Emmett Till’s death was my first time hearing about the story. Learning about all the new albums and singles in the back were my favorite and everything else it had to offer.
Both JET and Ebony both celebrated black excellence before it had a phrase. From the celebration of black love with newlyweds and anniversaries or the JET beauties which I admired their aspirations in life and search their universities.
I saw people who looked like me be praised for their alcaldes in their careers, in their arts, and whatever else while all making history.
I understand that these aren’t coming to an end, but the cross over really makes me wonder where the company will land. I’ve always admired the authenticity of each page in every magazine because it was genuine. It told our stories, for us, by us.
Where is black media heading if they are falling into debt? After JET went all digital in 2014, I thought the world was over. I thought, no longer will people be able to collect all of the magazines around their house and force the little kids to read.
I wish we could go back to print. Everything was so great.
Back in the day, those were the only magazines I saw. We didn’t have iPads or tablets to keep us busy or quiet in public places like getting our hair done or waiting on your mama to stop talking to her friend for hours at her house, there was only JET or Ebony.
After so many years, I enjoyed reading and would ask my Granny, where’s the new JET? not knowing that it will later turn into my career choice.
Johnson Publishing Company is not just a print or digital magazine to me, it was a eye-opener of real life. It taught me history, it taught me self-love, it taught me love for my culture, and it taught me the meaning of words on a page and how it can change your life.
Hopefully the company can overcome and in about 2 years, I can come and still fulfill my dream of working for the company that I feel raised me.
(This was really from my heart, so sorry if it sounds like a rant.)