Published on May 7th, 2014 | by Kailei Carr0
Jet Magazine Ends Print Production After Almost 63 Years
By Kailei Carr
Today Johnson Publishing announced that its institution, Jet Magazine, will no longer be printed and is going digital only after almost 63 years in production. Linda Johnson Rice, Chairwoman of JPC said in a press release that, “We are not saying goodbye to Jet, we are embracing the future as my father did in 1951 and taking it to the next level.”
Though this has caused a lot of surprise to many, in my opinion it only makes sense. Jet was the magazine that kept Black folks “in the know” for decades before the Internet. As a weekly publication, that’s how we kept up to date about what was going on in our community, the top music of the time (though, given their print schedule, that always seemed to be quite late, but we loved it anyway!), who was marrying who, and what we should be watching in TV. When you think about it, Jet had the opportunity and the brand equity and association to be the online destination to for Black current events online. But they didn’t do that. They struggled; they even combined the website with Ebony at one point to be www.ebonyjet.com (that URL now points to Ebony.com). I think they never took advantage of that opportunity to really go in and capture the market for current events and online news for Black Americans. However, with a focus on being solely digital (which is more aligned with their positioning anyway) maybe now is the time.
I am rooting for Jet. I know mothers and grandmothers everywhere are going to be complaining that they won’t have their new Jet magazines to put on display in their bathrooms and living rooms anymore. But I hope that JPC can now spark new life into the brand and become a destination online for current generations as they’ve done in print for generations before.