Sunday, June 8, 2014

Last Printed Issue of Jet Magazine Issued June 9, 2014

When I was growing up, my aunt used to buy the latest issue of Jet Magazine from the drugstore news rack. That's how I became acquainted with the pint-sized African American news magazine.  That was also a time when African American publications were rare.

Jet Magazine bridged the North, South, East, and West African American communities by reporting on newsworthy people, events, and issues of African American content.

I loved reading condensed stories that were exclusively African American related. There were notable weekly features like the famous swimsuit model feature in the center that was always tasteful. There was the old What's On TV segment, which was a list of black people who would be appearing in prime time over the next week. The high society wedding announcements that were at the rear of each issue were also a popular weekly page.

Jet Magazine was extremely easy to read. The standard story length was below 300 words. Some stories were supported by photo illustrations.

You didn't have to buy a personal copy of Jet or buy a personal subscription because the magazine was everywhere. You could read an entire issue reading a copy while waiting in the Dr's office, salon or barbershop. Those are just three of many places that provided copies of the magazine for leisure and time killing reading.

The print version of the magazine held for six decades. Recently the publication went from a weekly publication to hitting the newsstands every three weeks. This was one of the first indications to me that this age of digital print and e readers were influencing the print version of the magazine. Jet even pursued a redesign of its print edition to no avail. The digital age continued chomping at the heels of the print version and on Wednesday May 7 2014, Johnson Publishing Company announced the discontinuation of the print version of Jet Magazine.

At the time of the digital transition announcement the magazine had a circulation of 700,000.

The actual transition from print to digital occurred  June 9, 2014.

"The print version is going away, but the franchise is not going away," said Desiree Rogers, CEO of Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company.

The new app will provide weekly publishing and be available for tablets and all mobile devices. The app will update breaking news daily. It will include video interviews, 3-D charts and archival photos, in addition the content available in the print edition.

I don't know. I'm one of the diehard print media holdouts. It will take me a while to get adjusted to Jet on screen as opposed to Jet in my hands. I know I'm not alone in having to make that adjustment.

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