Jet Magazine to Add Opinion Pieces

Illustration for article titled Jet Magazine to Add Opinion Pieces

Move to Address Competition From Internet

Johnson Publishing Co. plans to address Jet magazine's competitive disadvantage with Internet publications by adding opinions and perspective pieces to the print magazine, Johnson CEO Desiree Rogers told Journal-isms on Wednesday.


"You can curate and have opinions on what happened over the week," she said. Jet can also offer "more of what you've loved all week," she said. Rogers said opinion writers would contribute to the magazine, first published 60 years ago.

Rogers spoke in response to an inquiry about newly released figures that showed Ebony's circulation averaged 1,235,865 for the first six months of 2011, a 10.9 percent increase for the monthly, and an increase for the weekly Jet of 7.6 percent, to 820,557.


Rogers agreed that the outsourcing of Johnson's circulation operation to the New York firm Shain & Oringer, which describes itself as a "full service marketing solution company," was a major factor in the increases. "The lesson is it's better to stick with what you really know — content and publishing magazines" rather than managing circulation.

Progress in advertising sales has not shown a similar boost, however. Compared with the year before, figures from the Publishers Information Bureau show that Ebony increased its advertising pages 1 percent in the first half of the year and its advertising dollars 6.3 percent, but Jet's dollars were down 6.6 percent and its pages down 11.2 percent.

A revamping of the pocket-sized Jet magazine, similar to the recent cover-to-cover redesign of Ebony, is on the company's agenda. In April, Mitzi Miller, a writer and editor at women's magazines, was hired as Jet's editor.

Before the Jet redesign, however, the company is launching a new website for Fashion Fair cosmetics,, at the end of the week. After that will come the redesign of the printed Jet, revamping of the Ebony website and remaking the Jet website.


Jet rolled out a new site last year,, but it is consistently outmatched by other sites covering African American celebrities. These sites devote greater resources to their product and, with their more rapid dissemination, put print publications such as Jet at a disadvantage.

Rogers also said Johnson Publishing conducted its first board meeting with JPMorgan Chase's Special Investments Group as part owner of the company, a development announced last month.


NABJ Challenges BBC on Coverage of U.K. Riots

"In the height of recent riots in Britain, the BBC simplistically asked on the global phone-in program 'World Have Your Say,' 'Is there a problem with young black men?' '" Gregory H. Lee Jr., president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said Tuesday in an "open letter" to the BBC.


"In asking such a question, the BBC offended many in its global audience." The question implies "that young black men were the only ones rioting and looting, which we find to be inflammatory. If that's the case, we call on the BBC to provide the proof. We are struggling to understand this stunning lack of sensitivity because the BBC has a longstanding reputation of integrity, accuracy and impartiality with very clear editorial guidelines.

"In another incident, the BBC allowed historian David Starkey, a guest on the Newsnight television program, to say that 'whites have become blacks' in reference to the race of rioters. Even more disturbing, the Newsnight presenter did not challenge that bizarre assertion — on a program that regularly holds people accountable for their views. By allowing the comment to go unchallenged, was the BBC agreeing with the inference that becoming black is monolithically synonymous with being violent?


" . . . Is this just a case of shocking incompetence or racism — as others have said? Why have black people in Britain not been afforded the same respect given to others? Why is the assumption that if something is negative pertaining to black people it is deemed acceptable by the BBC? What happened to the BBC's duty to provide accurate and balance[d] reporting? This raises the question of whether the BBC's senior editorial ranks need better racial and philosophical diversity to avoid being blind to such insensitive incidents." Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: Race and the London Riots  

* Douglas C. Lyons, South Florida SunSentinel: UK riots should spur job creation here


* Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: All ingredients here for riots like in London  

* Nisa Islam Muhammad, the Final Call: Despite challenges, Black journalists prepare to meet demands of industry  


* Jack Murkinson, Huffington Post: BBC Apologizes to Darcus Howe for Calling Him a Rioter in Testy Interview (video)

"Illest Men's Magazine" Editors Wanted More than T-and-A

The editors of the late King magazine, the self-proclaimed "Illest Men's Magazine Ever," were constantly at odds with their publisher, Harris Publications, which wanted them to produce something no more substantive than a t-and-a magazine for black men, according to Trymaine Lee, writing for HuffPost BlackVoices.


"In its first four years, KING's circulation more than doubled, from 132,851 a year after it launched to 271,298 in 2005, making it one of the fastest-growing magazines in America at the time, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which tracks magazine sales. Then as the economy worsened, things fell apart," Lee wrote in "The Rise And Fall Of KING Magazine," published Aug. 8 and updated on Tuesday.

"But more than just shrinking ad revenue, it seems that ambition is what truly killed KING.


Quoting Datwon Thomas, former editor-in-chief of XXL magazine and a King founder and editorial director, Lee continued, " 'For so long the publishers really didn't want the magazine to be as robust as it was,' said Thomas, who is now editorial director at Vibe. 'I think the publisher really just wanted some girls. Throughout the years they would say, "Y'all sure you don't want to just cut some of this stuff out?" It was always that little nudge.'

"While the brain trust behind the magazine — which included a roster of urban magazine wunderkinds, including Thomas and Jermaine Hall, KING's last editor-in-chief — was pushing the magazine to be as balanced and well rounded as it could be, insiders say Harris Publications saw the clearest route to profit as the one that went across the bubbly behinds of the women featured in its pages. The fewer bells and whistles and the more prominently placed booty, the better."


" . . . 'If we would have dumbed it down the way they wanted it to be, then it would have been a lot more profitable,' Hall said. 'Not that they weren't making a lot of money off it. They were.' "

King folded in 2009 after six years and 50 issues, leaving Slam (on basketball), XXL (hip-hop music), Rides (automobiles) and Antenna ("what drops next" in consumer products), in the Harris Publications portfolio.


Univision Taps Two as Foreign Correspondents

"Former CNN international correspondent Karl Penhaul has landed at Spanish-language broadcaster Univision," Alex Weprin wrote Wednesday for TVNewser. "Penhaul — who left CNN in January — will serve as a foreign correspondent for the network. In addition, Univision has named Carlos Villalon a foreign correspondent. Both men will report for all Univision News platforms.


" 'The addition of these two world-class journalists speaks to Univision’s commitment to invest in its in-house news operations and expand its news franchise to better serve our audiences,' said Isaac Lee, president of News, Univision Communications, in a statement. 'Their insights and keen understanding of world hot spots will provide Hispanic America with compelling, unparalleled news reports like never before.' "

Christopher Monroe, Television Photographer, Dies at 42

Christopher Monroe, a lifelong diabetic who at one point would undergo kidney dialysis as he slept at night so he could work as a photojournalist during the day, was found dead Sunday in his apartment in Perry Hall, Md., outside Baltimore, family members said. He turned 42 on June 3 and worked at WBFF-TV, the Fox affiliate in Baltimore.


His parents, Robert A. Monroe Sr. and Victoria Monroe, told Journal-isms a medical examiner would determine the cause of death.

Monroe had worked at WBFF for seven years and before that at WRIC-TV in Richmond, Va. It was there that he underwent dialysis at night while awaiting a transplant, his parents said. He received a kidney 10 years ago from his older brother, Donn Monroe, and later that year received a pancreas transplant, they said.


"We've been overwhelmed" with tributes from people recalling how Moore touched their lives, the parents said, saying hundreds of messages were posted on their son's Facebook page.

The station said on its web page, "If you knew Chris at all, the man always brought a smile to your face. He truly was a strong, inspirational and beautiful human being.


"He endured many 'tests' in life with divine strength and always, ALWAYS with a smile. Never complaining."

Moore attended Morehouse and Bethune-Cookman colleges and began his career in Tampa, Fla. Services are scheduled for Aug. 23 at Macedonia Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, N.Y.


Ellis Cose Challenges John McWhorter Book Review

In a review of Ellis Cose's book "The End of Anger," John McWhorter, the black conservative linguistics professor, says he has no trouble getting a cab. That assertion and, more important, prior animus between the two men, prompted Cose to respond. Cose is a former president and CEO of the Maynard Institute.


McWhorter wrote, in part:

"To be fair, Cose and like-minded black people might object that I am underplaying the amount of rage-inducing daily experiences black people endure. In that vein, Cose, like many black men of his time and place, mentions being bypassed by cabs. I know that the taxi problem was rampant in the past. But in nine years of living in New York, I have never once had an available cab pass me by, nor have assorted black men of Cose’s and my demographic whom I have questioned about this.


"I assume Cose is telling the truth about his experience, and I expect the same courtesy — which leaves us with a conundrum. It would seem that there is a factor, despite Cose and I being of about the same hue and both of 'non-threatening' appearance, that makes cab drivers pass Cose by but stop for me. By sheer logic, the factor cannot be racism. What it is I do not know. But I suspect that, if identified, it would serve as a more interesting topic than the one Cose has chosen."

Cose sent this letter to the New Republic, which published McWhorter's piece:

"John McWhorter’s New Republic review of my new book, 'The End of Anger', is a textbook example of what happens when a writer with a personal agenda reviews a book he has no business reviewing. As McWhorter well knows, he had an ethical conflict, which he chose to ignore. That conflict stems from the fact that we have both made it known publicly that we have little respect for the other’s work.


"I have spoken with McWhorter only once, when he approached me over a year ago in an Upper West Side Manhattan restaurant and informed me that he was now living in New York. He thought it likely that we would encounter each other from time and time and essentially suggested that we be civil. Not that I had any intention of being anything other than civil. It is simply not in my nature. But I assume his concern stemmed from the fact that I had told a Los Angeles Times reporter that I considered him a shoddy scholar and researcher. I based this conclusion on the fact that, in my opinion, he seriously misrepresented an earlier book of mine, 'The Rage of a Privileged Class', in his own book.

"I had heard that he had been assigned to review 'The End of Anger' and I anticipated that his tone would be snide and his judgment harsh. The meandering review that the New Republic published was frankly less hostile than I had anticipated. But it was clearly way off base.


"The main point of the book, as McWhorter should well know, is not that younger people are less racist than older people; it is that their way of maneuvering through the world is both informed by that fact and, in many respects, fundamentally different than that of their elders.

"And for some odd reason he chooses to make a big deal of the fact that taxis have on occasioned passed me by and that they have stopped for him. He seems to question whether I am being honest. I can only presume he questions as well the honesty of hundreds of people who responded to my surveys and whose experience mirrors mine more than his. But the fact is that taxi story is a minor anecdote in a book dealing with much larger matters. That he chose to make so much of it, and to refute it with a personal anecdote of his own that proves precisely nothing, is simply bizarre.


"I cannot imagine that The New Republic knew that McWhorter had a personal agenda. But he certainly should have informed his editors of his conflict. The New Republic and its readers deserve at least that.

"I have been in this business way too long to expect every review of my books to be positive. But I do expect a reviewer to approach a book with an open mind. TNR should expect that as well."


Diversity Committees Called "Close Cousins" to Apartheid

"Eleven months ago, J. Christian Adams triggered weeks of frenzied right-wing coverage after he quit the Department of Justice and claimed that under President Obama, the Department of Justice was engaged in a campaign of racially-motivated corruption . . . ," Matt Gertz wrote Wednesday for Media Matters.


Now Adams is comparing diversity committees with apartheid. In criticizing the hiring practices of the Education Section of the Justice Department, Adams noted that before Tamica Daniel was hired only a year out of Georgetown law school, she was diversity committee chair of the law review.

"For those in the real world, diversity committees are groups set up to hector for race-based outcomes in hiring employees and student matters. It is an entity with close cousins in South Africa’s apartheid regime and other dark eras in history."


KNBC, Under Fire Over Latinos, Hires Reporter

KNBC-TV, the NBC owned-and-operated station in Los Angeles, under fire after five Latino anchors were demoted in the past year has hired Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist Antonio Castelan as a general assignment reporter, Vickie Burns, vice president and news director, announced on Thursday.


Castelan joins the station from the CW affiliate San Diego 6 (XETV), where he was a reporter since 2007.

"Antonio is an intrepid reporter who is not afraid to take on the tough assignments. His resolve and tenacious reporting style [make] him a perfect fit for our news organization that is well-known for our enterprise and investigative news coverage. He will make a terrific addition to the team," Burns said in a statement.


The CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists have protested the demotions of the anchors.  

* Michael Malone, Broadcasting & Cable: Cancela Named KVEA Los Angeles GM

Short Takes

* Ron Thomas, whose students at the Morehouse College Journalism and Sports Program regularly read "Journal-isms," has been chosen for the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Sports Journalism by Sport in Society and the Northeastern University School of Journalism, Northeastern announced this week. Thomas directs the Morehouse program. "For almost 40 years, Thomas has written thoughtfully and compellingly on the intersection of sports and social justice by illuminating the persistence of racism in sports and the ramifications for society at large. Thomas has covered pro and major college sports for the San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, the Marin (Ca.) Independent Journal, Chicago Daily News and," an announcement said.


* Melissa Harris-Perry, an African American professor of political science at Tulane University, filled in as host of "The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC Wednesday night [video] and plans to do so again Thursday and Friday. O'Donnell's show airs at 8 p.m. EDT. Harris-Perry guest-hosted three weeks ago on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."  

* Gustavo Arellano of the OC Weekly, creator of the syndicated "¡Ask a Mexican!" column, will see an off-Broadway version of his column mounted in New York next week, Kevin Roderick of LAObserved reported on Wednesday.


* In the second of a three-part series of interviews with Essence Editor-in-Chief Constance C.R. White, Donya Blaze of FishbowlNY asks about Essence's hiring of a white fashion director and a similar controversy recently over its hiring of a white managing editor. "My take is that Essence has always had a diverse staff," White said. “That was last year… and I’m moving forward." Meanwhile, White wrote in the September issue that she plans to explore colorism in the coming months. "It's time to move beyond our own divisive attitudes and embrace the glorious range and beauty of our skin tones," she said.

* "Edmund Lee, a reporter for Advertising Age, has been hired by Bloomberg News," reported on Wednesday. "Lee posted on Twitter that he will be covering companies such as News Corp., Time Warner and Viacom. He’s been covering media for Ad Age."


* "The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by Israel's continued detention of Al-Jazeera journalist Samer Allawi, who has been held without charge for eight days," the committee said on Wednesday. ". . . Authorities detained Allawi, the network's Kabul bureau chief, on August 9 at al-Karama border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank. Allawi, a Palestinian who carries a Jordanian passport, was arrested while leaving the Occupied Territories after a three-week vacation in his hometown near Nablus."

* Rick Sanchez, the former CNN anchor, confirms a report "that he is in negotiations to co-host a syndicated talk show along the lines of 'Live With Regis and Kelly.' 'I guess I would be Regis,' he said with a laugh," Tom Jicha reported Wednesday for the South Florida SunSentinel. "The hook is, it would actually be two shows, in English and in Spanish, said Sanchez, who is Cuban-American."


* On May 18, Journal-isms reported that Sheila C. Johnson, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and a strategic adviser to the Huffington Post, told participants in her League of Black Women conference that she was "looking at" the Root, the Washington Post. Co.'s African American-oriented website. But at the National Association of Black Journalists conference this month in Philadelphia, Johnson told Journal-isms that her comment had been misinterpreted. She said she meant the statement as a compliment, not as an expression of interest in owning the site.

* "Top-level executives of the upstart HBCU Network and members of the Congressional Black Caucus are slated to convene in Washington later this month in a forum aimed at creating even more buzz for the revolutionary-styled TV network," Glenn Minnis wrote Monday for "Plans still call for the Atlanta-based network to soft launch later this fall, then as a 'full fledged 24/7, 365 days a year sports, edutainment and lifestyle network' dedicated to historically black colleges and universities come Black History Month 2012, even though initial plans targeting cable industry giant Comcast as a potential carrier have reportedly hit a snag."


* The National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) and Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) jointly announced Wednesday the panelists for the Town Hall Meeting on Diversity in New York Oct. 4, according to Multichannel News. "The forum will discuss NAMIC's latest edition of AIM (Advancement Investment Measurement) and WICT's PAR Initiative (Pay Equity, Advancement Opportunities and Resources for Work/Life Support) surveys that research advancement of ethnic and gender diversity in the cable industry. The surveys will be a focal point of the panel discussion."

Follow Richard Prince on Twitter.

Facebook users: "Like" "Richard Prince's Journal-isms" on Facebook.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter