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Delano

Is Johnson Publishing going out of business?

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Yes the mags were sold and well has the photo library. Jet was immediately scuttled after it was sold.  I would have keep Jet and dropped Ebony - if only one could remain.

 

The article did not discuss Ebony's business model (was it just cosmetics and the fashion show?).  They did not say how much debt the had, but I guess there was just no way it could have survived. 

 

The fact that Johnson had to use a proxy to buy the office tower is amazing.  How many Black owned office towers are there in America today?  

 

It is too bad because nothing will fill the void and not enough people care....

 

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There is a book out by a Johnson Publishing Insider:

 

Empire: The House That John H. Johnson Built (The Life & Legacy of Pioneering Publishing Magnate) by Margena A. Christian Empire: The House That John H. Johnson Built (The Life & Legacy of Pioneering Publishing Magnate) by Margena A. Christian 

 

Article from Chicago Sun Times

 

"Last week, the iconic black publishing firm filed for bankruptcy to begin liquidation of assets — the historic archives JPC once offered for sale at $40 million, and what’s left of the Fashion Fair Cosmetics division founded by Johnson’s wife, the late Eunice Johnson.

 

The company had been operated by their only surviving child and heir, Linda Johnson Rice. Johnson Rice’s only child, Alexa Rice, chose not to enter the family business."

 

Book Description

Johnson climbed over racial barriers and obstacles designed to deter his goals, but he succeeded against the odds anyway while holding true to his motif, "Failure is a word I don't accept." As founder of the Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), he quietly funded the Civil Rights Movement, providing a platform for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., to promote messages of freedom and equality for all. Johnson dared to show pictures of the battered body of Emmett Till on the pages of JET in 1955, sending a shockwave across the nation.

 

When advertisers ignored black consumers, he showed Madison Avenue the power of profitably by including black models and themes appealing to his race. He advised presidents and became the first African American to construct a major building in Chicago's Loop. Hailed as "The Most Outstanding Black Publisher in History" and as "The Greatest Minority Entrepreneur in U.S. History," Johnson was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor.

 

The poor boy from Arkansas City, Arkansas, who picked cotton as a child, made more history as the first black person named to the Forbes 400 richest Americans and amassed an empire, ranging from publishing, cosmetics, travel, radio stations, TV shows, hair care products, and world's largest traveling fashion show.

 

 

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I'm not suprised.

I've said this before, but the intellect of AfroAmerica has been dissolving since the 80s.
Media and periodicals are an intellectual pursuit and takes a certain level of intelligence and academic discipline to operate them successfully.
The simple fact is many of those in these past few generations don't have the smarts or discipline to even MAINTAIN what their parents and grand parents started....let alone build on top of it and expand it.


The REASONS for this intellectual decline vary but I would say the main causes include the steady dismantling of the public educational systems in most urban areas since the 80s designed to purposely "dumb down" the population, and the poor dietary habits of most AfroAmericans since the 70s which negatively affects the proper development of the brain.  
Oh...and I can't leave out the powerful impact that hard core drugs like heroin and cocaine (in all of it's various forms) has had on the mental development of Black youth.

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On 4/11/2019 at 6:08 PM, Troy said:

Yes the mags were sold and well has the photo library. Jet was immediately scuttled after it was sold.  I would have keep Jet and dropped Ebony - if only one could remain. 


CORRECTION

Johnson Publishing sold ONLY EBONY and Jet Magazines.  They retained Fashion Fair,  the cosmetics division and photo archivesAJC 's Ernie Suggs reports, they tried to sell the archives for an estimated $40 million but were unsuccessful.   The Wall Street Journal is reporting (April 24, 2019) that billionaire couple Mellody Hobson and George Lucas are seeking control of the EBONY JET Archives.  The Photo Archives are at risk due to the bankruptcy filing.

Links:
Johnson, former Ebony and Jet publisher, files for bankruptcy, by Ernie Suggs (April 10) Atlanta Journal Constitution https://www.ajc.com/news/johnson-former-ebony-and-jet-publisher-files-for-bankruptcy/WTnEwA0TokQcZL52SJZoAM/?fbclid=IwAR2Exrn5mZ1xK4AhAVQs8TbESeammYdFJcmERwGTb-JWfdoTlSDpfct93Tw
Filmmaker George Lucas, Wife Mellody Hobson Seek Control of Ebony, Jet Archives by Jonathan Randles - The WSJ article - Subscription Required https://www.wsj.com/articles/filmmaker-george-lucas-wife-mellody-hobson-seek-control-of-ebony-jet-archives-11556135813

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On 4/17/2019 at 6:48 PM, Pioneer1 said:

The REASONS for this intellectual decline vary but I would say the main causes include the steady dismantling of the public educational systems in most urban areas since the 80s designed to purposely "dumb down" the population, and the poor dietary habits of most AfroAmericans since the 70s which negatively affects the proper development of the brain.  

 

@Pioneer1 I agree, they are trying to dumb us down constantly and the public schools are hit hard. What with all of the media technology nowadays, it seems like young people learn a lot from this source. And too, I think this attack on our intellect happened way before the 80s. But I hope that we will still have some kind of AfroAmerican magazine source and etc.

1 hour ago, Mel Hopkins said:

The Wall Street Journal is reporting (April 24, 2019) that billionaire couple Mellody Hobson and George Lucas are seeking control of the EBONY JET Archives.  The Photo Archives are at risk due to the bankruptcy filing.

 

@Mel Hopkins Interesting!

 

 

I just recently realized something had to be wrong with the cosmetic line. I love Fashion Fair makeup and had been trying to find a store, aside from the internet, to walk in and buy the products. JC Penny used to be where I could buy it, but it stopped a few years ago. They now have Sephora selling inside the store and they don't carry Fashion fair. I also went Belks and I found out that they too, stopped. I love Fashion Fair most of all and I did some research and found out that they put some kind of 'red coloring' in their foundation, and this is the best for my skin. I've tried so many others and withoug a 'red coloring' my skin looks horrible. So, it's good to know that this cosmetic line is still out there. I was hoping that maybe, Walmart could sale it or somebody else. 

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She is an investor , the lower the price ,the better the investment . It's like the Getty archives . Lucas is a filmmaker of mythical proportions . He probably wants it and Hobson is saying yes dear but the Price to Earnings ratio is too high, let's wait .

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On 4/25/2019 at 11:21 AM, Chevdove said:

So, it's good to know that this cosmetic line is still out there.

@Chevdove,


Well you might want to check Sears before they go out of business - because that was Fashion Fair Cosmetics main distributor. 

@Delano and @Troy  you both worked on wall street;  I have a question for you two.   What happens when someone purchases your business but  doesn't follow up with payment and you have to file Chapter 7 liquidation?  Does the money owed become an asset? 

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I am not familiar with bankruptcy laws. If  you are asking if the purchaser's bid is an asset?, the answer is most likely no. Debt holders get paid first. I believe that secured debt gets paid first, I am not certain about unsecured debt, credit and accounts payable. 

 

The laws also vary from state to state. For instance in Florida your primary residence is exempt from business debt. Or at least it was in the 90's. 

 

Your question cuts across accounting and law. I am not a lawyer nor am I an accountant. I also can't legally give you advice, however I may be able to provide some direction. 

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@Del  I apologize - I wasn’t clear.  Yes, you’re correct.  According to the petition there will be no money left for unsecured debt.  And I think you’re correct my question does include accounting methods and law - 

 

For clarification, however, Here’s there scenario -

 

You enter into an agreement to purchase my business.  We agree to a payment schedule but then you begin to miss payments.  

 

Do you own my business?

 

Or do I still own my business because you’ve failed to live up to your end of the agreement.

 

 If yes, does the business go into my “asset” pile?  Will the trustee now liquidate the business that was supposed to be yours - if you paid on time? 

 

 

Have you ever heard of an actual case like that?

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Mel that sounds more contractual. What are the terms and do you have a written contract. 

 

I worked with profit and loss for  investment products and systems testing. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Delano said:

Mel that sounds more contractual. What are the terms and do you have a written contract. 

 


Thank you, @Del.  I was just wondering if Johnson Publishing sold their media division through a leveraged buyout...of course I don't know.  But some of the hints contained in the chapter 7 petition tell an interesting story.     At first,  I was thinking it was a Structured Sale gone bad.  But as I was searching for info - The Beatrice foods deal came up in the search, and while there's no relation to the Johnson Publishing deal and its subsequent liquidation petition; it help me understand why certain players including the company's ceo are  listed as creditors.   

I tell you, there's so much folks, such as me,  don't know about Financial instruments - it's no wonder that black people are headed for zero net worth. 

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20 hours ago, Mel Hopkins said:

Well you might want to check Sears before they go out of business - because that was Fashion Fair Cosmetics main distributor. 

 

@Mel Hopkins That is news to me! But yes, I've check Sears too and they don't have Fashion Fair at their counter either. 

53 minutes ago, Mel Hopkins said:

I tell you, there's so much folks, such as me,  don't know about Financial instruments - it's no wonder that black people are headed for zero net worth. 

 

Oh yes. I'm so not understanding. 

But, I am  reading and trying to gain some type of information and this thread is interesting.

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48 minutes ago, Chevdove said:

 

@Mel Hopkins That is news to me! But yes, I've check Sears too and they don't have Fashion Fair at their counter either. 


@Chevdove me too!  I didn't know until I read the company's statement  regarding the bankruptcy petition. 

 

48 minutes ago, Chevdove said:

But, I am  reading and trying to gain some type of information and this thread is interesting.

 It appears mainstream media didn't cover the deal either.  They ran with the "EBONY JET sold to Clear View Group  for an undisclosed amount" and left it there.     When I worked as a broadcast news journalist; I never left anything "at that"... I kept digging until I got the story for my television news station.   I used to get into trouble - even with the former Senator Jay Rockefeller because he tried to pass off a standard line and thought that's was good enough. He even yelled at me during a telephone conference hmph!  But I betcha I  got my answer LOL

Edited by Mel Hopkins
correct typo
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On 4/27/2019 at 11:42 AM, Mel Hopkins said:

When I worked as a broadcast news journalist; I never left anything "at that"... I kept digging until I got the story for my television news station.

 

@Mel Hopkins Way to go!!!

 

 

On 4/27/2019 at 11:42 AM, Mel Hopkins said:

I used to get into trouble - even with the former Senator Jay Rockefeller because he tried to pass off a standard line and thought that's was good enough. He even yelled at me during a telephone conference hmph!  But I betcha I  got my answer LOL

 

So, he tried to intimidate you. I hope you continue! 

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On 4/29/2019 at 5:55 PM, Chevdove said:

I hope you continue! 

@Chevdove Although, I’m out of the mainstream media and politics; - I will always do my best to shine the light! 😊

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On ‎4‎/‎25‎/‎2019 at 11:21 AM, Chevdove said:

 

@Pioneer1 I agree, they are trying to dumb us down constantly and the public schools are hit hard. What with all of the media technology nowadays, it seems like young people learn a lot from this source. And too, I think this attack on our intellect happened way before the 80s. But I hope that we will still have some kind of AfroAmerican magazine source and etc.

 


Yes.
The internet and all of this IT and media technology provides a lot of INFORMATION but not enough actual KNOWLEDGE.

This goes back to my point about so many Black people with college degrees but can't find jobs that pay them enough to support themselves.
They have a head full of useless information....much of which isn't even true.....but not enough of the RIGHT and TRUE information that they can use to actually improve themselves and their community.

Go to Washington D.C. and you'll find 100 Black people with doctorate degrees per square block......but these same negroes can't even fix the potholes on the street and have to call a bunch of half drunk plaid shirt wearing White men to come and fix their streets and sidewalks because they don't have the knowledge to do it themselves.
 

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Information comes from many sources.  Knowledge is simply tweaked information.

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On ‎5‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 1:27 PM, Cynique said:

Information comes from many sources.  Knowledge is simply tweaked information.

 

To me, knowledge is MORE than just tweaked information but it's also information that is TRUE.
You can focus on piece of information, but if that information turns out to be false it could lead to bad results.....and shouldn't be passed along or passed down as a body of knowledge.

 

 

 



Troy

You mentioned in a post that if it were your choice you would have kept Jet and scrapped Ebony, I'm a little curious as to why?
Was it the debt Ebony was in that would have made it dead weight fiscally?

BTW.....
I still remember going to barbershops as a kid and going through all of Jet magazines checking out the "Beauties of the Week", LOL.

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@Pioneer1 yes I too remember the jet beauties -- every red blooded Black man does. Few can recall something from Ebony with the same level of fondness. But man any print publication is hard keep afloat today. Who knows what I would really do...

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Troy

Few can recall something from Ebony with the same level of fondness

Perhaps Ebony should have become a Black men's magazine the way Essence caters to Black women.

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@Delano I reread the article and reminded me of  the conversation we had about preserving AALBC beyond my life. If Johnson Publishing can't last two generations that is not a good sign. 

 

I wonder what is going on with the cosmetics line. I heard the photo archives is being auctioned off essentially the last major asset. Truly the end of an era.

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On ‎7‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 11:30 PM, Delano said:

Or the beginning? 


Try both......the beginning OF the end.

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There era of strong Black-owned media companies is ending. What era is beginning?

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African American Literature Ebony ManagineI just read that Ebony and Jet Magazines may be terminated.  The company that owns the magazine has fired the entire online staff and owed a couple hundred grand to freelance writers going back to 2017 (@Mel Hopkins you were lucky to be paid).   This is completely separate from the bankruptcy of Johnson Publishing.  

 

Have Black people really stopped reading print publications, or is it that they are not getting the publications that they want to read?

 

I stopped subscribing to Ebony long ago. I got tired of seeing celebrity fluff. The magazine stopped speaking to me and social media does a much better job with the celebrity stuff anyway. 

 

This was not always true. I published a post about an article from Ebony back in 1963 and it was sublime.  If the published articles like regularly I would absolutely subscribe and sell subscriptions to the magazines on this site.

 

Do articles like the, ones from 1960s written by writers like John A. Williams, that appeal to readers like me, not have large enough of an audience to be published by magazines like Jet any longer?

 

Maybe Magazines no longer have the funding to invest in talented writers and lose money while they build an audience.

 

One problem many of our business have is that if we can't afford to not make a profit for a couple of years while building our businesses, we have no chance of surviving.  We have to be profitable out of the gate and few of our business have the luxury of starting that way.  The old adage applies; “It takes money to make money.”

 

 

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On 7/26/2019 at 10:51 AM, Troy said:

(@Mel Hopkins you were lucky to be paid). 

@Troy  😁  Luck had nothing to do with it!  I get paid for my time - unless I volunteer.  I never understand why writers don't get paid for their talent.  Especially, when we know magazines are getting paid for those advertisements that run tens of thousands of dollars!   

Anyway, this is heartbreaking. I had a feeling EBONY Magazine and Jet were next.   After following up on the Johnson bankruptcy and photo collection auction - it appears the EBONY Media Operations purchased the magazine through an partially owner-financed structured leverage buyout - (once you read the chapter 7 liquidation petition you'll learn of the creditors) Linda Johnson Rice is listed as a creditor plus she mentioned in her news release that the buyers of the media division failed to pay - which she says is one of the reason for the chapter 7 petition.  So I'm not surprised.  I followed up with the new owners for comment but they didn't respond.  


As for the photo collection  it's reported a consortium of the known players purchased the archive for $30 Million. From theChicago Crusader. 

"Four foundations- the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Trust, and the MacArthur Foundation—came together to buy the archive in just a week to keep it from disappearing into private hands. They plan to donate it to the National Museum of African American History of Culture in Washington, DC; the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles; and other cultural institutions."

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13 hours ago, Mel Hopkins said:

I never understand why writers don't get paid for their talent.  

 

Mel these writers intended to get paid, but Ebony apparently could not or would not pay them. The writers were robbed it is not their faults that they were not paid. This happens all the time.

 

None of the articles I read, which all seem to be copied from the same source, failed mention that EMO failed to pay for the magazine. Apparently none of the reporters  bothered to t3ead the liquidation petition. The quote, from the article I linked to says;

 

“EMO is unaffected by the Chapter 7 bankruptcy announcement regarding the dissolution of JPC. EMO is not able to comment further and is not familiar with the facts or events of the JPC business.”

 

If EMO did not pay JPC, then this quote is a lie. Man you can't really trust anything you read on the web... thanks for the elucidation. EMO's failure to pay JPC is an important detail.

 

Now Mel, how is EMO getting off the hook for not paying JPC?

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11 minutes ago, Troy said:

This happens all the time.

 

@Troy Exactly!  

 

Apparently  it is rocket science for some writers to figure out how to avoid getting burnt.  Troy,  I’m a writer and you could see my name in every publication out there but it’s not worth it, if I earn less than a $1 a word and I have to chase my paycheck.

 

I would end  up - broke with a portfolio filled with clips!  Writers have to do better for the sake of the industry.

 

It is our time (again)!and we still can’t figure out how to win. 

 

21 minutes ago, Troy said:

f EMO did not pay JPC, then this quote is a lie.

 

I agree but no one can get the parties on record. The closest is the press release from Linda Johnson Rice and the bankruptcy petition that names all the creditors. 

 

My source did say a lot reporters are calling with excellent questions that would reveal the truth of the matter but all the source can do is refer the journalists back to EMO.  

 

This whole affair is heartbreaking - the multimillion-dollar media company didn’t make it two generations.  

 

The irony is the top tier of 1% owns the prized African American photo collection archive.  

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Mel Hopkins said:

This whole affair is heartbreaking - the multimillion-dollar media company didn’t make it two generations.  

 

Why couldn't it last?

 

This story would make a good documentary or book.

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1 hour ago, Troy said:

Why couldn't it last?

 

From what I heard, the father was grooming the son to take over the business but the son passed away.

 

The daughter went to business school but allegedly her “heart and mind” wasn’t into it. 

 

Also overheard in one of the editorial meeting “LJR didn’t care for the target market” that EBONY served. So, yes I agree it would be an excellent story!!!

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