Sunday, August 1, 2021

Ebony Magazine Website is Down Following End of Beloved Publication

*After years of sales declines, layoffs, lawsuits, bankruptcy and unpaid debts, Ebony and Jet magazines appear to be gone for good, as well as parent company, Johnson Publishing Company.

Ebony’s website has also shut down, and visitors to ebony.com are greeted with a message that says: “The site you were looking for couldn’t be found.”

According to The Crusader, an insider with knowledge about the magazine’s website said there were a “lot of issues going,” but didn’t elaborate.

Via The Crusader:

Sources tell the Crusader that Ebony had not paid its remaining five-member digital web staff. They kept the website going with several stories since June 2019. At that time, several media outlets reported that Ebony Media closed for good by laying off its remaining staff members after they walked out when the company couldn’t make payroll.

In the past six months, Ebony’s website has struggled to produce fresh stories and content that harks back to its glory days.

With no magazine and no website, questions remain whether Ebony will celebrate its 75th anniversary.

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ebony and jet

We previously reported, in 2002, Linda Johnson Rice, the daughter of John and Eunice Johnson -the Black publishing giants behind Jet and Ebony magazine – became CEO of the family business and ran Johnson Publishing until 2010, when Desiree Rogers became CEO and Linda continued as chairman.

John Johnson died in 2005 and Eunice in 2010, the same year Rice sold the company’s headquarters to Columbia College, which sold it to 3L Real Estate in 2016, the report states.

Rice sold Ebony and Jet in 2016 to Clear View Group. 

One Twitter user wrote, “Before all this social media, apps, streaming services and cable does anyone remember in the late 80s early 90s when we read ebony and jet magazine, and watched Arsenio Hall weeknights and Soul Train Saturday mornings. So sad they ran John Johnson’s company into the ground!”

Another commenter, who claims to have worked for the publication, added, “It’s sad. Linda Johnson Rice did a poor job of maintaining her dad’s legacy. Jet is no more. Fashion Fair is no more. Ebony is no more. She sold the building and photograph collection. Now, her daughter is working for somebody else magazine.”

The user also said of the Ebony/Jet legacy “It’s gone. I worked for EbonyFashionFair when I was barely 21. That’s been over 10 yrs. We were often out of product. When products came, they were late. When I met Linda Johnson Rice, she seemed more consumed with status instead of [continuously] building her dad’s legacy.

Last year, Johnson Publishing filed bankruptcy in May and its massive photo archives was purchased for $30 million by two philanthropic foundations in an auction to settle company’s debts

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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