CHICAGO — After 63 years as a print news digest, JET magazine will switch to online-only publication, effective June 23, Johnson Publishing Co. announced Wednesday.
Instead, JET will switch to a digital app that will continue to feature news about the black community, said Cheryl McKissack, chief operating officer for Johnson Publishing Co.
"We have been thinking about this [switch] for a long time. Switching to a digital format allows us to better deliver our product to readers," McKissack told DNAinfo Chicago. "The website would still be available to read stories, but only an abbreviated version. To read stories in full, you would need to subscribe to the app."
The annual cost of a digital subscription will be $20, according to McKissack, who added that a decline in advertising and the rising cost of postage and paper "certainly played into this decision."
According to company official, the digital JET will include video interviews, enhanced maps, 3D charts and photography from the company's archives. Breaking news will be updated daily. A new Ebony and JET digital store also will be available.
Ebony magazine, another Johnson Publishing product, will remain available in print.
"We consider Ebony our flagship product, and there is still an audience for this print product," McKissack said.
McKissack said she hopes JET does not lose any of its older readers by making the change.
"I know some seniors may not be digital savvy but we hope they continue supporting us," said McKissack.
Former JET Editor Mitzi Miller was named the editor of Ebony in April, and Kyra Kyles, a former JET senior editor and digital managing editor of its website, is the new digital editorial director for JET online.
The Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists applauded the switch to digital.
"JET magazine joins several other publications that have switched to a digital-only format. We are proud that Kyra Kyles [a past president of the chapter] was appointed the digital editorial director," said Kathy Chaney, president of the Chicago chapter.
The late John H. Johnson founded JET and Ebony magazines. In a statement, his daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, said if he were alive today he would support the change.
“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,’” said Johnson Rice, chairman of Johnson Publishing Co.
“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,” she said.