Desiree Rogers, the CEO of Johnson Publishing who rarely grants interviews, spoke exclusively with Roland Martin on NewsOne Now about the historic sale of two of Black America’s most important publications.
The Chicago-based company sold the magazines to the Clear View Group in Austin, Texas for an undisclosed amount. Rogers explained the sale was “extremely important” and allowed the storied publications “to continue to grow,” as well as make them “viable moving forward in the future.”
Rogers told Martin that Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman of Johnson Publishing, would become Chairman Emeritus on the board of Ebony Media Operations and “sit on the board” of the new organization formed to manage the publications.
Ebony, which has celebrated Black life, culture, and politics since 1945, is still distributed in print form, while Jet magazine, often referred to as the bible for Black news and culture, went strictly digital in 2014. “There are changes,” Rogers said. “But many of the things that we’re familiar with are staying the same.”
The Johnson Publishing name will remain and under that name, Fashion Fair – Johnson Publishing’s cosmetic line – and Ebony magazine’s photo archives would reside.
As a result of the sale, Rogers said, “Ebony and Jet are set up for the future and Fashion Fair is set up for the future.”
She also said the sale allows the company to “grow and invest” in Ebony’s Power 100.
Rogers declined to discuss the financial details of the deal and said, “what we feel we’ve done has been able to ensure the future of the published magazine, and at the same time see additional investment in the brand – whether that be the digital platforms that are associated with the two magazines.”
According to Michael Gibson, co-founder and chairman of African-American-owned Clear View Group, “Ebony will remain in print for the foreseeable future.”
Rogers said, “We’re delighted to be able to extend and be able to make certain that these brands are invested in and that they survive.”
Watch Roland Martin and Desiree Rogers discuss the sale of Ebony and Jet magazines in the video clip above.
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