Jet Magazine, which was established in 1951, has announced that it will cease publishing a print edition in favor of a digital app. Johnson Publishing said that the print edition was no longer “cost-effective” and would better be able to meet the needs of its readership with the digital only format. Jet magazine gained prominence through the years of the civil rights struggle and became an important source of information for African-Americans. Johnson Publishing chief executive Desiree Rogers, said the digital app would “bring the magazine back to its roots, publishing weekly and providing African-Americans easy access to the news they were most interested in.” She also said, “I think if Johnson were here today, I think he would say ‘what took you so long?” Wishful thinking I believe.
What this really means is that Jet unfortunately is on its last legs, a death knell so to speak. As it has been stated on many occasions by Mr. Magazine, Dr. Samir Hosni, Not one magazine has moved from print to digital and survived. Jet will certainly not buck that trend. The fact is, if things were better at Jet, they would have continued with the print edition. Sister title Ebony, with a circulation of 1.3 million, isn’t moving to digital only. Why not? Because it makes money in print. No publishers are taking a print magazine to digital if it’s profitable. That would be a poor business decision. So let’s not make believe and tell stories to make each other feel better. If Jet remains only in the world of digital, we will be reading about its demise before long. The same would have happened to Newsweek if it had not resurfaced in print. The fact is, the digital world is too large for magazines to thrive, let alone survive. In addition, magazines simply do not translate well to digital and that will not change so publishers need to reinvent their print editions if they are going to survive in an ever-increasing battle for our time. A mass migration to digital will spell the end of the periodical business as we have known it for the past 100+ years. To Jet: Rest in Peace in your digital graveyard.