Jet (magazine)

Jet is a magazine marketed to African-American readers now distributed in digital format. It was founded in 1951 by John H. Johnson of the Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago, Illinois, as an American weekly.[2] Initially billed as "The Weekly Negro News Magazine", Jet chronicled the Civil Rights Movement from its earliest years, including the murder of Emmett Till, the Montgomery bus boycott, and the activities of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King.

Published in small digest-sized format from its inception in 1951, Jet printed in all or mostly black-and-white until its December 27, 1999 issue. In 2009, Jet's publishing format was changed; it was published every week with a double issue published once each month. Johnson Publishing Company published the final print issue, June 23, 2014, continuing solely as a digital magazine app.[3][4] In 2016, Johnson Publishing sold Jet and its sister publication Ebony to private equity firm Clear View Group. The publishing company is now known as Ebony Media Corporation.[5]

February 14, 1952 Jet cover with Acquanetta.
Former editorsMitzi Miller
CategoriesNews Magazine
PublisherEbony Media Operations
Total circulation
(June, 2012)
1.1 Million
First issueNovember 1, 1951
Final issueJune 23, 2014 (print)
2014–2014 (digital)
CompanyEbony Media Operations, LLC
Johnson Publishing Company
CountryUnited States
Based inLos Angeles, California, U.S.[1]


Jet magazine was established in 1951.[6] Johnson called his magazine Jet because, as he said in the first issue, "In the world today everything is moving along at a faster clip. There is more news and far less time to read it."[7] (The phrase "jet black" derives from jet, a mineraloid.) Redd Foxx called the magazine "the Negro bible."[8] Jet became nationally known in 1955 with its shocking and graphic coverage of the murder of Emmett Till. Its ubiquity was enhanced by its continuing coverage of the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement.[8]

In May 2014, the publication announced the print edition would be discontinued and switch to a digital format in June.[9] In June 2016, after 71 years, Jet and its sister publication Ebony were sold by Johnson Publishing to Clear View Group, an Austin, Texas-based private equity firm, for an undisclosed amount.[10]


Jet contained fashion and beauty tips, entertainment news, dating advice, political coverage, health tips, and diet guides, in addition to covering events such as fashion shows. The cover photo usually corresponds to the focus of the main story. Some examples of cover stories might be a celebrity's wedding, Mother's Day, or a recognition of the achievements of a notable African American. Many issues are given coverage to show the African-American community that if they want to reach a goal, they have to be willing to work for it. Jet also claims to give young female adults confidence and strength because the women featured therein are strong and successful without the help of a man. Since 1952, Jet has had a full-page feature called "Beauty of the Week". This feature includes a photograph of an African-American woman in a swimsuit (either one-piece or two-piece, but never nude), along with her name, place of residence, profession, hobbies, and interests. Many of the women are not professional models and submit their photographs for the magazine's consideration. The purpose of the feature is to promote the beauty of African-American women. Like the other leading black magazine, Essence, Jet routinely deplored racism in mainstream media, especially in the negative depictions of black men and women. However Hazell and Clarke report that Jet and Essence in 2003–4 themselves ran advertising that was pervaded with racism and white supremacy.[11]

Notable people

  • Robert C. Farrell (born 1936), journalist and member of the Los Angeles City Council, 1974–91, Jet correspondent
  • Robert E. Johnson (born August 13, 1922, in Montgomery, Alabama; died January, 1996, in Chicago) was Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of Jet Magazine. He joined the Jet staff in February 1953, two years after it was founded by Publisher John H. Johnson." He was one of the longest serving editors of Jet.
  • Tracey Ferguson became Editor-in-Chief of Jet Magazine in 2017.


  1. ^ Robert Channick (May 5, 2017). "Ebony cuts a third of its staff, moving editorial operations to LA". Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  2. ^ "From Negro Digest to Ebony, Jet and EM". Ebony. November 1992. pp. 50–55.
  3. ^ "Jet Magazine – Final Print Edition". Ebony Jet Shop. June 23, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  4. ^ "Jet to stop printing weekly, change to digital app". Washington Post. AP. May 7, 2014.
  5. ^ "Ebony Jet Sold!". The Chicago Defender. June 16, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  6. ^ "Dead (Ceased) Magazine Markets for Freelance Writers". Writing Career. Archived from the original on November 30, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  7. ^ Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. November 1, 1951. p. 67. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Paul Finkelman (February 12, 2009). Encyclopedia of African American History. Oxford University Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-19-516779-5. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  9. ^ Staff, By CNN. "Jet magazine ending print edition, moving to digital only -". CNN. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  10. ^ Channick, Robert. "Johnson Publishing sells Ebony, Jet magazines to Texas firm". Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  11. ^ Vanessa Hazell and Juanne Clarke, "Race and Gender in the Media: A Content Analysis of Advertisements in Two Mainstream Black Magazines" Journal of Black Studies (2008) 39#1 pp 5-21. in JSTOR

External links

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African-American press


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