The magazine, which was founded in 1951, is joining an ever-lengthening list of dying print publications.
Johnson Publishing Company has announced today that JET will transition to a digital magazine app at the end of June.
JET has the third-largest circulation in the African American magazine market with 700,000, behind Ebony and Essence.
“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,’”He could not have spoken more relevant words today. We are not saying goodbye to JET, we are embracing the future as my father did in 1951 and taking it to the next level.”” said Linda Johnson Rice, chairman of JPC
When Johnson premiered Jet in 1951, he had already gained a long history of creating publications targeting the African-American market. He sensed that an African American publication in the style of Reader’s Digest would be a “black gold mine.” His mother gave him her furniture as collateral for a $500 loan. He used this seed money to publish Negro Digest in 1942. By 1950, he had used his profits to release Tan Magazine, a gossip publication, and, a year later, he produced Jet. After releasing Jet, Johnson went on to publish African American Stars and Ebony Jr.
It was JET magazine that published photographs of Till, at a time when mainstream media ignored them and the issues they represented. Moments such as these are what inspired Charles Diggs, a former member of Congress, to call JET’s coverage “one of the greatest media products in the last 40 or 50 years.”