After a year seemingly filled with uncertainty, Johnson Publishing Company seems well on its way to charting a definitive course for its future. Yesterday, Amy DuBois Barnett was named Editor-in-Chief of Ebony Magazine replacing Harriette Cole who is leaving the company. Barnett has a resume filled with high profile positions including deputy editor-in-chief of Harper’s BAZAAR, managing editor at Honey Magazine and managing editor at Teen People, where she became the first African-American woman in the U.S. to head up a mainstream consumer magazine.
Barnett will be responsible for both the print and digital side of the magazine. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Linda Johnson Rice, chairman and CEO of Ebony publisher Johnson Publishing Co. has stated that she has no plans to sell the company and would rather focus on moving forward. And it’s evident that she Barnett is the key to that momentum.
“She’s very forward thinking and very interested in our digital space,” Rice said. “We need to be able to move the magazine forward, and to come up with additional stories and perspectives, and for it to have a stronger voice in the African-American community.”
Barnett plans to actively engage the digital space in a way that has been previously ignored including getting content in front of people via mobile devices including iPads and mobile phones. While no definitive strategy has been discussed, it’s safe to say that if there’s a chance for Ebony to become a relevant force on the web, Barnett is the person to lead the way. During her time at Teen People, she spearheaded a site redesign that put the digital property at the top of the teen category with 14 million readers.
We’ve already begun to see change on the digital side with EbonyJet spinning off into two separate entities. Jet.com has hit the ground running targeting a new audience and working to build an active web presence. It will be interesting to see what direction Burnett takes the property in and how she will leverage Ebony’s established voice to build a vibrant, thriving web audience.Category: Digital Media, Featured | Tags: Amy DuBois Barnett, ebony, Harper's Bazaar, Harriette Cole, Honey, Jet.com, Johnson Publishing Company, Linda Johnson Rice, Teen People