Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Publishers of iconic U.S. black magazines Ebony and Jet file for bankruptcy

The publishers of two of the best-known magazines aimed at a black audience -- Ebony and Jet -- have filed for bankruptcy. Johnson Publishing Co. said the company was “caught in a tidal wave of marketplace changes and business issues which, despite exhaustive efforts, could not be overcome.”

Ebony was founded in 1945, patterned after LIFE magazine and it reached an average monthly circulation of around 2 million in the 1990s, according to an AP story.

Jet had ceased print publication in 2014 and became a digital-only publication. 
“Johnson Publishing Company is an iconic part of American and African American history since our founding in 1942, and the company’s impact on society cannot be overstated,” the company said in Tuesday’s statement.
After reporting revenues in the hundreds of millions in the 1990s, the company’s fortunes began to decline after Johnson died in 2005 and magazines in general began to struggle as advertisers moved to alternative media. 
In 2014, Jet ceased print editions and became a digital-only publication. In 2016, both publications were sold to Clear View Group, an equity firm in Texas.Despite being under new ownership, the company struggled financially, with freelance writers suing to be paid. The lawsuit was settled last year.

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