Author Topic: Johnson Publishing sells Ebony, Jet magazines to Texas firm  (Read 1679 times)

Offline imchills

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After a 71-year run in Chicago, Johnson Publishing is getting out of publishing.

The company said Tuesday it has sold Ebony, its iconic African-American lifestyle magazine, and the now digital-only Jet magazine to Clear View Group, an Austin, Texas-based private equity firm, for an undisclosed amount.

Johnson Publishing will retain its Fashion Fair Cosmetics business and its historic Ebony photo archives, which remains up for sale. The deal, which closed in May, also included the assumption of debt.

A family-owned business throughout its history, Ebony has documented the African-American experience since it first hit newsstands in 1945. It has shaped culture ever since, coming into its own as it reported from the front lines of the civil rights movement during the 1960s in powerful photos and prose...

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: Johnson Publishing sells Ebony, Jet magazines to Texas firm
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2016, 06:37:57 am »
Well, kudos that an African-American owned firm purchased the brand. Hopefully it will continue to thrive; and maybe Jet can be brought back as a quarterly.

I wonder will the editorial offices move from Chicago?  And what will this mean for job growth at the company?

I noticed some tweets in the past week of folks who resigned.  Clearly this was why.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 12:10:06 pm by Hypestyle »
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Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Johnson Publishing sells Ebony, Jet magazines to Texas firm
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2016, 07:47:27 pm »
I would love to know more.  Were there multiple bids?  Who is this company that purchased them?   

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: Johnson Publishing sells Ebony, Jet magazines to Texas firm
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2016, 05:41:01 am »
From Ebony's website:

For Michael Gibson and Willard Jackson everything they needed was in place.

Seven decades as a vanguard for the African American community? Check.

A media company equipped with the staff and management they wanted? Check.

Positioning to take advantage of emerging digital platforms for growth? Check.

So when their company, the Austin, Tex.-based Clear View Group LLC acquired EBONY Magazine,, and in May, the decision was a no-brainer.

“EBONY’s always been a part of our families, so it had always been an attraction,” said Gibson, 59, who serves as board chair of the new Ebony Media company.  “But this opportunity was introduced to us…and it didn’t take us very long to make the decision that this was something unique, it’s the most iconic image in the African American community and it’s a platform that we think is really important for us and all of our community.”

Last week Johnson Publishing Company, which had published EBONY since 1945 and JET since 1951, announced the acquisition for an undisclosed amount by Clear View, a firm formed by Gibson and Jackson in 2015 that specializes in private equity acquisitions, according to its website. Ebony Media is its first foray into print and digital publishing. The two partners each hold a 50 percent stake in the company.

The acquisition of the EBONY properties by Clear View also keeps it in African American hands as it expects to add staffing companies, media and transportation to its portfolio Gibson said.

“It’s important to point out that we view our strength as raising capital and networking and really bringing other opportunities to the table for our portfolio company.”

The intention all along was to acquire a company with an existing management team that could move Clear View’s goals forward, the partners say.

“We are not the operators of these different companies,” said Gibson, who is managing partner of Advantis Certified Staffing Solutions. “They’ll continue to be operated by the management teams that run the companies.”

To begin with, Linda Johnson Rice, who served as Chairman of Johnson Publishing company will sit on the board of Ebony Media as Chairman Emeritus. Cheryl Mayberry McKissack serves as the CEO of the new company and Kyra Kyles, who led the company’s digital operation before, takes over as EBONY’s Editor-in-Chief and SVP Digital Editorial.

But Clear View is looking for the new company to transform into what they hope will be a “multimedia platform,” that includes the existing print and digital operations as well as the possibility of expanded digital space and even broadcast as well.

“We see bringing additional programs, activations, events, content…to further satisfy what we think is a need out there for African American content,” said Jackson, 52, Clear View’s vice-chairman and also board chairman and CEO of Offisol, a management consulting and staffing company which he founded. “Whether it’s healthcare or education related, we want to offer different ways to provide content to the existing readership.  We see really expanding the digital platform.”

But that’s challenging in an age where competition for African American readership and content consumption is so fierce. For much of EBONY’s existence, the magazine was the only one in the marketplace targeted at Blacks. In 2016, the choices – print and digital -- for readers are virtually endless.

Jackson, however says the company has one significant advantage.

“We’re the number one African American brand in the world,” he explained. “It’s the power of the brand that we think sets us apart from all those other sites and digital platforms. We also start off with a very loyal following, readership who has been following EBONY Magazine since its inception. With those two components, it sets us apart.”

The partners say that because the publications will remain in African American hands means that they can continue be an authentic voice for the Black community, but that also means an expansion of that voice.

Gibson said he and Jackson feel Ebony Media is in a good place to grow, despite any challenges.

“We have a reach of over 1.25 million subscribers a month, that’s more than any other (Black targeted) magazine that’s out there,” he said. He also said expanding on events like EBONY’s Power 100, strengthening both websites and adding more will help with profitability.  “So it’s certainly something that’s already there that we can build on.”

Read more at EBONY
Follow us: @EbonyMag on Twitter | EbonyMag on Facebook
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Offline Hypestyle

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Freelancers Frustrated by Ebony Magazine
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2018, 08:58:00 am »

“I write things for money.”

There it is. My official slogan since I first started writing professionally back in 1996. Head over to my personal Facebook page, and you’ll see it written in my intro. If I were to get a hood tatt, that’s the phrase I’d have my cousin ink into my neck with his worst prison handwriting.

Don’t come at me with…

“We don’t have money to pay, we have a great publication!”

Straight to trash cause you’re trash.

“We can’t pay, but we can offer you exposure!”

f*ck you and your exposure. Bank accounts die of exposure.

Writing is a craft. I spend a lot of time perfecting my voice, my style. It doesn’t just happen.

It’s also a discipline. I write every single day. And when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. And then I write what I thought about. And then I erase what I wrote, and start again from scratch in order to rewrite it.

You want, you pay. When I finish this piece, I’ll fill out an invoice, and The Root will deposit my fee directly into my bank account. Thems the rules, and as a writer, if you’re dealing with a reputable publication(s), then you can scratch out a living. But then you have the f*ckboy (are there f*ckgirls?) publications that dog you out financially, while keeping up their appearances as being historically significant. Of course, I’m talking about good ole Ebony.

This Thanksgiving weekend, unless you were serving pumpkin pie and stuffing instead of sweet potato pie and dressing, all of blackness not named Ben Carson uploaded birthday month and year covers for the #EbonyChallenge on social media.

Count me in those ranks.

It was fun to recount the colorism, the black is beautiful, the sexism, the fine women in bathing suits who are now great grandmamas, the classism, the ‘is the afro coming back’ pieces, and the respectability politics that Ebony covered…and that was just the Bill Cosby covers.

I kid.

But there was also something sinister about that #EbonyChallenge.

You see, the simps that own Ebony today, Willard Jackson and Michael Gibson, ain’t responsible for all that black goodness. Nope, they’re responsible for not paying black writers thousands of dollars for work already provided. I won’t go into it here, because The Root’s Michael Harriot and Monique Judge did a fantastic job explaining the situation here and here, but only after many protests, and a lawsuit, have they made partial payments.

But here’s the thing. While black writers are literally dying before getting paid, Jackson and Gibson are like, “f*ck them, let’s put on a show!”

This weekend, some bullsh*t ass Ebony Power 100 gala, sponsored by Nationwide Insurance, United Airlines, Lexus, Tanqueray, and Motown, will take place at the Beverly Hilton, the same luxurious locale where the Golden Globes is hosted. Ebony will spend the thousands owed to black writers on rubber chicken, flatulent speeches, and the unmistakable smell of pseudo bougieness, all hosted by comedian Chris Tucker. (Note to Chris: Be like Aretha, Chris, and insist on cash before you tell that first joke, homie…)

These high profile events are designed to let folks know that the publication is tapped into the zeitgeist of blackness by honoring the movers and shakers, and so they’re still relevant. Okay, whatever. If black folks wanna clean up well and hobnob about being the hausenfras of the frickenfrat of their various field, more power to you. Float, float on to LinkedIn with your new connects.

But this version of Ebony can’t even get the easy sh*t right. Mari Copeny, aka Little Miss Flint, is #BlackGirlMagic personified, and this 11-year old activist ain’t for play play. She’s advocated for clean water for Flint, Michigan, raised over $350K for the Pack Your Back non-profit, and won the Ebony People’s Choice Award as a ‘change agent’ after garnering over 24K online votes. Yet, according to her Twitter account, she was told by Ebony that she couldn’t attend because this made up event ‘wasn’t open to the public.’

Simps will always do simp things.

And that got me thinking…f*ck Ebony.

Pay the writers, today. Not that “I’ll pay you tomorrow when I got time to go to the bank, but I gotta first get a new ID because I lost my wallet, and I’m just hoping to get everything done before everything closes...I’ll call you when I have your money...”


Ebony is currently under a court order to pay all of the black writers by New Year’s, but according to some owed writers, the company already missed scheduled payments.

But why are we allowing Willard Jackson and Michael Gibson to act like your cousin that text you for an emergency loan because the police are gonna repossess his car, then borrows a grip from you, doesn’t answer your calls for months, all the while posting vacation pics from Negril on his IG account?

Nah kid, Ebony ain’t got no ends en mi casa. So I wanna get them paid before Xmas.

I want to make this clear…there have been a LOT of black writers who’ve been advocating, protesting, agitating for full payment, way before me. They did all of the heavy lifting, and I want none of their credit. I’m just coming in at the end, mainly because my frat brother, and former National Press Club president Jeff Ballou, challenged me to help the protest.

Okay, bet. I joke that I went to Berkeley, and as students, we protest Tuesday for not being Thursday. This is what we do. Ebony doesn’t owe me a nickel, but that’s not the point. Right is right, and if Ebony is gonna pimp our black connective tissue for social media likes and shares, then the least they can do is respect the black writers that created the content.

So I have three things for you to do:

Image: Lawrence Ross
1. See this satirical cover of Ebony? I created it just for y’all. Download it. Put it on your Facebook, IG, and Twitter page. Include the following hashtags: #EbonyPower100 #EbonyGala #EbonyChallenge @EbonyMag #EbonyStillOwes

2. Find Facebook, IG and Twitter threads with the #EbonyChallenge, add this satirical cover, and explain that Ebony owes black writers. Use #EbonyPower100 #EbonyGala #EbonyChallenge @EbonyMag #EbonyStillOwes hashtags.

3. Pressure the sponsors: Tweet this: “@tanquerayusa @united @lexus @motown @nationwide do you know that @EbonyMag owes thousands to writers while you sponsor their #EbonyPower100 gala? Your #EbonyChallenge is to stand w/the writers.” Make sure to add the cover too. Use #EbonyPower100 #EbonyGala #EbonyChallenge @EbonyMag #EbonyStillOwes hashtags.

That’s it. Do your part. Do your part for Nekessa Moody, owed $1000 for a story she wrote, but can’t use that money today to pay for daycare expenses for her toddler. Do your part for Dr. Kimberly Ellis, who is only owed $100, but she was going to use it to buy a part for her A/V presentation. And there are a bunch of stories like this. But simply do it because it’s the right thing to do.

That’s something the new Ebony could learn from all of those old Ebony covers.
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