Jet (magazine)

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Feb. 14, 1952 cover with Acquanetta.
Editor-in-Chief Mitzi Miller
Categories News Magazine
Frequency Weekly
Publisher Linda Johnson Rice
Total circulation
(June 2012)
First issue November 1, 1951 (1951-11-01)
Final issue June 2014
Company Johnson Publishing Company
Country United States
Based in Chicago, Illinois
Language English
ISSN 0021-5996

Jet was an American weekly marketed toward African-American readers, founded in 1951 by John H. Johnson of the Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago, Illinois.[2] Initially billed as "The Weekly Negro News Magazine", Jet is notable for its role in chronicling the American Civil Rights movement from its earliest years, including coverage of the Emmett Till murder, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Published in small digest-sized format from its inception in 1951, Jet printed in all or mostly black-and-white until its 27 December 1999 issue. In 2009, Jet's publishing format was changed; it was published every week with a double issue published once each month. Johnson Publishing Company published the final print issue, 23 June 2014, continuing solely as a digital magazine app.[3][4]


Johnson called his magazine Jet because, as he said in the first issue, "In the world today everything is moving along at a faster clip. There is more news and far less time to read it."[5] Redd Foxx called the magazine "the Negro bible."[6] Jet became nationally famous in 1955 with its shocking and graphic coverage of the murder of Emmett Till. Its ubiquity was enhanced by its continuing coverage of the burgeoning civil rights movement.[6]


Jet contained fashion and beauty tips, entertainment news, dating advice, political coverage, health tips, and diet guides, in addition to covering events such as fashion shows. The cover photo usually corresponds to the focus of the main story. Some examples of cover stories might be a celebrity's wedding, Mother's Day, or a recognition of the achievements of a notable African American. Many issues are given coverage to show the African-American community that if they want to reach a goal, they have to be willing to work for it. Jet also claims to give young female adults confidence and strength because the women featured therein are strong and successful without the help of a man. Since 1952, Jet has had a full-page feature called "Beauty of the Week". This feature includes a photograph of an African-American woman in a swimsuit (either one-piece or two-piece, but never nude), along with her name, place of residence, profession, hobbies, and interests. Many of the women are not professional models and submit their photographs for the magazine's consideration. The purpose of the feature is to promote the beauty of African-American women.

Like the other leading black magazine, Essence, Jet routinely deplored racism in mainstream media, especially in the negative depictions of black men and women. However Hazell and Clarke report that Jet and Essence in 2003-4 themselves ran advertising that was pervaded with racism and white supremacy.[7]

Notable people

  • Robert C. Farrell (born 1936), journalist and member of the Los Angeles City Council, 1974–91, Jet correspondent
  • Robert E. Johnson (August 13, 1922 Montgomery, Alabama - January 1996 Chicago) was Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of JET Magazine. He joined the JET staff in February 1953, two years after it was founded by Publisher John H. Johnson." He was one of the longest serving editors of JET.


  1. "eCirc for Consumer Magazines". Alliance for Audited Media. June 30, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "From Negro Digest to Ebony, Jet and EM". Ebony. November 1992. pp. 50–55.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Jet to stop printing weekly, change to digital app". Washington Post. AP. May 7, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 1 November 1951. p. 67. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved 7 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Paul Finkelman (12 February 2009). Encyclopedia of African American History. Oxford University Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-19-516779-5. Retrieved 7 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Vanessa Hazell and Juanne Clarke, "Race and Gender in the Media: A Content Analysis of Advertisements in Two Mainstream Black Magazines" Journal of Black Studies (2008) 39#1 pp 5-21. in JSTOR

External links