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In Publishing World, 'Jet' Magazine Stays Ahead of Curve

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Jet, the prominent African-American magazine, is again ahead of its peers by announcing it will transition to an all-digital format later this year.

The magazine, which is credited for bringing the civil rights movement into the American consciousness, said on Wednesday that it will no longer publish a regular print edition.

Johnson Publishing Company, the magazine's publisher, said the move to a digital format will start in June, and be available by delivery through the magazine's Web site or through its paid subscription app.

Last year, Jet reduced its publication schedule from a weekly release to a digest-size magazine every three weeks to cut costs. Now, however, the magazine plans to move back to a weekly release schedule in its digital format.

Linda Johnson Rice, chairwoman of Johnson Publishing and daughter of the magazine's founder, John Johnson, told The New York Times, "Almost 63 years ago, my father, John Johnson, named the publication Jet because, as he said in the first issue, 'In the world today, everything is moving faster. There is more news and far less time to read it.' She continued, "He could not have spoken truer words. We are not saying goodbye to Jet, we are embracing the future as my father did in 1951."

Similarly, the move may make sense demographically considering a large percentage of its readers consume content through digital sources.

For those who see the move to digital as a sort of regression by the magazine, they may not understand that Jet has always been a pioneer in the industry.

John Johnson started Jet in 1951, five years after Ebony. The magazine was specifically tasked as being more news-driven than Ebony, which took the tone of being more self help-centered.

The magazine had a meteoric rise in popularity in the mid-1950s when it earned the reputation for providing unwavering coverage of the civil rights movement.

When asked what the late Mr. Johnson would have thought of the transition to an all-digital format, Rogers told USA Today, "If Mr. Johnson were here, he would have said, 'What took you guys so long? '"

At the time of publication, the author had no position in any of the funds mentioned.

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This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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