A major shake-up happened at Ebony magazine this week as the historic black publication laid off nearly a third of its staff and made plans to consolidate editorial operations with sister publication Jet in Los Angeles.
Ebony is a monthly lifestyle magazine that was launched in Chicago in 1945 and has called the city home ever since, but as the Chicago Tribune reports, an estimated 10-35 employees were laid off, including Editor-in-Chief Kyra Kyles. Tracey Ferguson, who is the Los Angeles-based editor of Jet magazine, will be responsible for both magazines going forward.
Michael Gibson, co-founder and chairman of Ebony owner CVG Group, said Friday, “There was a significant consolidation of the editorial staff as well as some of the digital staff.”
Gibson said that Ebony Media will retain a downsized Chicago office after the magazine pulls up stakes for the West Coast, and Linda Johnson Rice, newly renamed Ebony Media CEO, will remain in her role and will be based in Chicago.
Johnson Publishing was the family-owned business that started both Ebony and Jet. They sold both magazines to Texas-based private equity firm CVG Group in May 2016. As the Tribune notes, Ebony has struggled since the ownership shift and recently made headlines after freelance writers complained about not being paid by the publication.
And if unpaid freelancers complaining was not enough, subscription holders are now saying that they have not received the magazine in the mail since the November issue, although it has continued to appear on newsstands.
Gibson blamed the subscription delivery problem on a change in printers.
Are we watching our grandma’s favorite magazine crumble right before our very eyes? Only time will tell.
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.