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JET Magazine Goes From Print to Digital Only

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JET Magazine Goes From Print to Digital Only
The historic Johnson Publishing Company title changes format after nearly 63 years




CHICAGO, (May 7, 2014) — Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), announced today that JET magazine, founded in 1951, will transition to a digital magazine app at the end of June.  JPC is making the proactive decision to adapt to the changing needs of its readers as their desire to get information quickly and easily increases. 


JET, the number three magazine in the African-American market, with a rate base of 700,000, started as a publication for Black-Americans to get weekly news on issues central to their community in a quick and easy to read format.


The new weekly digital magazine app will leverage a variety of storytelling tactics, including video interviews, enhanced digital maps, 3D charts and photography from the JPC archives.  Breaking news will be updated daily.  The app will be available on all tablet devices and mobile platforms.  In addition, JET will publish an annual special print edition. 


“Almost 63 years ago, my father, John Johnson, named the publication JET because, as he said in the first issue, ‘In the world today, everything is moving faster. There is more news and far less time to read it,’” said Linda Johnson Rice, chairman of JPC.  “He could not have spoken more relevant words today.  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.”


“The JET magazine online presence is continuing to grow, and JPC feels strongly we can provide great and timely content to our readers with the first weekly digital magazine app in the African-American space,” said Desiree Rogers, CEO of JPC.


This JET online content will feature strong entertainment news along with politics, pop culture and social issues that impact African-Americans, as well as a new EBONY/JET digital store. 

Kyra Kyles, formerly a senior editor of JET magazine and digital managing editor of JETmag.com, has been appointed the digital editorial director for JET online. 



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With 700K subscribers was the magazine nonviable?  It seems to me a significant portion of Jet readers don't use aps and are not constantly connected to the web.  Perhaps they are trying to reach a younger demographic. Young people spend their mobile time on social media, playing games and listening to music.   Jet was the magazine you picked up while waiting your turn at the barbershop or dentist office, you read it while you were on the can. 


As more and more magazines transition to digital only format, they may was well just go away altogether.  A cursory look at the Jet website reveals a mashup of the wire stories already available everywhere else on the net.  There does not appear too many original or exclusive stories; nothing to drive you to that particular site.


While I still consider myself very technically oriented.  I do not believe the digitization of everything leaves us better off.   We are reading less, what little remains of what we own, on-line, languishes in obscurity.  The management of every digital asset we own from books, music, videos, photos has become a technical nightmare. 


Corporations already have many of us paying $150 per month for TV, $100 per month for a phone, and now they are salivating waiting for us to pay them a recurring fee to store our personal photos, videos, whatever in some stupid "cloud" that you have to pay them yet another fee to access!


We have become perpetual victims of the 'ole okie doke.

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  • 2 months later...

I wondered why I stopped seeing the magazines at the stores, and wonder what the end result will be. I think there should always be a mixture of digital content and printed material for any publication. Instead of just trying to jump into the future, JET should also consider other factors that relate to them specifically. Are their usual readers technologically savy? Will those readers prefer to read things online, as opposed to in print? A lot of major publications, such as TIME and many newspapers, maintain a website where they publish content while still publishing printed material. I'm a TIME subscriber, and I appreciate that because my eyes can't handle reading too much online. I don't know what the specifics of JET's projections are, but I think that if it's not broken, don't fix it.

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Jeron,  I have to assume the folks at Johnson Publications, responsible for publishing Jet magazine, did all of what you suggested.  I assume they felt something was indeed broken so they are attempting to fix it.


I would also assume sales at the newsstands were declining.  I actually wanted to buy the last issue and i could not think of a single place, in Harlem, where I could by the magazine.  I know Pathmark (a local supermarket) sells magazines at the check the out stand, but I did not feel like trekking over there.  They used to have magazine and newspaper stands, but those went the way of the Blacksmith...


I will check out the Jet Application.  You get to use it for 30 days for free if you get a code the Jet website: http://www.jetmag.com/jet-digital-registration/

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