Black Publications Struggle For Survival Amid Turmoil In The Media Industry

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July 31, 2013 ‐ By Ann Brown
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Magazines in general are struggling, but publications that target African Americans have hit a rough patch leaving many to ponder if African-American magazines are still relevant.

Not only are black magazines having difficulty attracting ad sales and readers, some are having trouble refocusing their voice. As we recently reported, Essence is accused of suffering from a lack of editorial direction and identity.

“With such legacy brands as Ebony/Jet, Essence and Black Enterprise, African-American media outlets have carved out a place for themselves in a once homogenous industry that failed to tell the stories most pertinent to minority audiences. But as the market consolidates, will they continue to play a salient role in communities of color?” questions The Huffington Post on the cusp of the 2013 National Association of Black Journalists convention.

Understanding the need to change, some black publications are trying to adapt. Jet magazine, for example, recently relaunched with a new design–and attitude–to keep up with its demo’s needs. It was its first redesign in 62 years.

“The landscape for black media is really the same for all media, which is everybody is scrambling for the new business model now that it’s more about delivering audiences to advertisers than it is about delivering content to audiences,” Black Enterprise‘s editor-at-large  Alfred Edmond Jr. told HuffPo. According to Edmond, black magazines must find a way to reach out to advertisers in order to ensure their survival.

With cable television being dominated by white men, there is an obvious need for media outlets that are for–and by–African Americans.

Do you still read African-American print publications?

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  • sorrybutno

    the only time i read any magazine is when im sitting in a doctor’s office and im bored. paying for more ads than readable content is not appealing.