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Digital Apps Are The Future For Black Media, Says Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing


There was collective shock when it was announced that Jet magazine would be going digital and ending its reign as a print magazine that had been a staple in Black households for more than 60 years.

With the digital format, an app allows readers to access the same content they had grown to know and love Jet for.

In an interview with, Desiree Rogers, chief executive at Johnson Publishing, which produces Jet, explains why digital apps are the future for black media.

“They want it right away,” said Rogers of Jet‘s audience. “They don’t want to wait on something that’s going to be mailed, especially if it’s entertainment news. They want to read it first. The only way to do that, as we thought about Jet, is to do a digital format.”

She adds, “If we’re introducing it [Jet] to newer audiences and we’re thinking about digital, we had to consider what is the small magazine for today. It’s the cellphone or iPad or Kindle.”

The Jet digital app is updated every Friday and boasts features such as trailers for upcoming films in the Movies section and songs that can be listened to and downloaded in the Playlist section. Rogers describes it as having “a living and breathing magazine in your phone, iPod, Kindle or Nook.”

Even though Jet has gone completely digital, its sister publication, Ebony, is still thriving as a print magazine, and Rogers doesn’t see this changing anytime soon.

“There is still room for print, fashion books, longer books, great magazine fold pages, tear something out, holding it in your hands. Ebony with longer stories and beautiful imagery, people still like to have that book in their hands. … Lifestyle will continue to have a place that people will still want to see that imagery.”

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