“Now it appears Johnson Publishing’s chairman and CEO, Linda Johnson Rice, has reached what must have been an agonizing decision: Johnson Publishing is seeking a buyer or investor for its flagship publication, Ebony, in an effort aimed at securing the survival of the nation’s oldest magazine devoted to African-American life,” Newsweek reported in last week’s edition.
Newsweek said that Rice has contacted Time Inc. and Viacom about a possible purchase of Ebony or a partnership. Time Inc. bought Essence magazine – a publication for black women – in 2000. Viacom purchased BET in 2000.
A source familiar with Ebony’s financial difficulties confirmed for BlackAmericaWeb.com that the magazine is being shopped to several potential buyers.
Executives with Ebony said the magazine is considering a myriad of possibilities.
“As we’ve indicated previously, we are exploring a range of options to support our core media business. However, we are not in discussions with Time Inc. and Viacom,” Ebony said in a statement sent to BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Clem Richardson, a columnist with The New York Daily News, said he finds the prospect of Ebony and Jet no longer being black-owned both angering and frightening.
“I get angry because the company’s financial trouble is more testimony to the notion that African-Americans can’t be fiscally viable, despite our numbers, without white support,” Richardson told BlackAmericaWeb.com Tuesday.
“And I get frightened because Ebony has long shown its readers black Americans at our best, and in showing that, helped us through our worse,” he said.