Ebony and Jet to Reorganize Staff

Editorial director to remain with Johnson Publishing Co.

august2008ebonycover_edited-1Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Co. announced Ebony and JET magazines will be undergoing a reorganization which will require all current employees to reapply for their jobs.

“Reshaping our organizational design will help ensure that we continue to evolve with the ever-changing media landscape,” said Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman & CEO at the Chicago-based company.

The company would not give specific details about the reorganization, including what positions will be eliminated and employees who will be leaving the company.

The changes are being put into place to continue the 67-year-old company’s “long-term success and ensure [its] future as the entire publishing industry navigates the tumultuous economic climate.”

Year-on-year, ad revenue at Ebony fell by 18.8% and by 40.9% at JET for the fourth quarter of 2008. Among ethnic media, Johnson Publishing is not alone in the washout. The men’s hip-hop magazine XXL let go its editor-in-chief, Elliot Wilson. Revenue decreased at Vibe Magazine by 15.2%, by 22.2% at Essence Magazine.

Circulation at Ebony, a monthly general interest magazine, increased by 3.5%, and circulation at Jet, a weekly news magazine that covers entertainment, news, and lifestyle stories of interest to African Americans, rose 2.2% through the first half of 2008.  Their numbers were slightly better than the industry as a whole, which was flat for the same period, according to Neal Lulofs, senior vice president of communications at the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Separately, Jackson says that Bryan Monroe is still employed with Johnson as vice president and editorial director for Ebony and Jet magazines, contrary to reports by other news outlets that his position had been eliminated.

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