Shakeups

EBONY Magazine In Flux - Print Magazine Folds, Digital Seems To Continue

EBONY Magazine and its spin off political sister magazine Jet, reportedly fired its online editorial staff without pay, as reported by the New York Daily News and The Root, and suspended the print publication. So far, Spring 2019 has been the last issue.

The Background

Founded by John H. Johnson in 1945, EBONY Magazine was the source for African American culture, news and perspective. When Johnson died in 2005, his daughter Linda Johnson Rice took the helm. By that time, the shifts in media publishing were starting to prove too volatile for survival. Rice sold the Johnson Publishing Company building in 2010 to Columbia College, moving the staff to more affordable offices.

In 2016, both EBONY and Jet were sold to The Clear View Group (CVG), an African American investment group bringing over 25 years of experience in running successful corporations.

#EbonyOwes Social Campaign Emerges In Defense Of Unpaid Freelance Writers

In 2017, a social media campaign #EbonyOwes forced Clear View Group’s owners Michael Gibson and Willard Jackson into the public eye for not paying their freelance writers, as reported by Vice. Fifty freelance writers were owed a collective amount of $200K. In response, EBONY made an effort to pay them with $18K offered to 11 writers, 3 of whom were paid in full. The National Writers Union stepped in, taking EBONY Media and its parent company CVG to court.

On February 27, 2018, the remaining 43 writers finally settled their lawsuit with Ebony Magazine, according to Kinja. Ebony Media, Clear View Group and the National Writers Union came to an agreement that all unpaid invoices would be compensated by the end of the year in four quarterly payments. But by October 2018, Ebony missed its third quarter payment. After another lawsuit and more social media shaming, CVG made the final payment by December 7, 2018 - three weeks before the final deadline.

In November 2018, the company suspended dental, vision and disability overage, suggesting the possibility of reinstating benefits in June 2019. But on January 3, 2019, all other medical benefits were cancelled, including HSA plans.

Screen Shot 2019-07-05 at 11.21.59 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 11.24.16 PM.png

…And Then Print…And Then Payroll…

In May of 2019, CVG informed their staff that the print edition of EBONY would be suspended on May 24th. On May 30th, a memo informed staffers that payroll would be delayed. Some employees have mentioned that their 401(k) contributions deducted from their paychecks were never added to their accounts, according to the New York Post.

The magazine cover created by Lawrence Ross for TheRoot.com, as a parody. Ebony Magazine took TheRoot.com to court alleging trademark infringement. It was ruled that the satirical cover was protected under the First Amendment.  Image Credit:    Lawrence Ross

The magazine cover created by Lawrence Ross for TheRoot.com, as a parody. Ebony Magazine took TheRoot.com to court alleging trademark infringement. It was ruled that the satirical cover was protected under the First Amendment.
Image Credit: Lawrence Ross

EBONY Magazine Loses Lawsuit Over Satirical and Critical Magazine Cover

Ebony Magazine lost a lawsuit against TheRoot.com, for allegedly infringing on Ebony’s trademark due to this magazine cover parody created by Lawrence Ross. It was ruled that the satirical cover was protected under the First Amendment.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York wrote, “Each of the 5 headlines on the Accused Image is harshly and unambiguously critical of EBONY Magazine —sarcastically purporting to preview (non-existent) stories about: the magazine being a ‘deadbeat,ʼthe magazineʼs owners ‘show[ing] us howʼ to cheat black writers, ‘100 Ways Ebony Doesnʼt Pay Writers,ʼ the magazineʼs owners as ‘Slow Pay Kings of Black Biz,ʼ and ‘Thousands in Back Payʼ owed by the magazine. It is difficult to imagine any reader experiencing confusion as to whether or not EBONY Magazine sponsored or endorsed a cover that portrays it in such a negative light. . . .” 

Former EBONY Publisher Files For Bankruptcy

In April 2019, former EBONY publisher Johnson Publishing Company filed for bankruptcy, which does not impact the publication, according to EBONY as quoted in Black Press USA.  They are in the process of selling off all remaining assets, including an archive of photos chronicling black American history and Fashion Fair cosmetics, the first cosmetic line to address the beauty needs of the African American community it retained from Linda Johnson Rice.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from the article at  The Root .

Photo Credit: Screenshot from the article at The Root.

Photo Archives Of African American People And History Are Unsecured

The photo archives were once valued at $46 million in 2015, according to TheSource.com. The photo archives included photos of entertainers, civil rights leaders and prominent African American businessmen and women. According to The New York Post: “The archive includes one of the most dramatic photos of the civil rights era: the badly disfigured body of 14-year-old Emmett Till laid out in a coffin. The Chicago native was accused of offending a white woman during a trip to Mississippi, which led to barbed wire being tied around his neck before he was thrown naked into a river with a 75-pound weight tied to him. The photo by David Jackson appeared first in Jet in 1955 and became a searing reminder of racism in the Deep South at the time.”

Financier Mellody Hobson and her husband George Lucas (yes, that George Lucas) are attempting to take control over the archive according to The Root, as it was used as collateral when Capital Holdings V, a company Hobson and Lucas control, lent JPC $12 million dollars back in 2015. The photo collection is set to go up for auction the week of July 15, 2019, likely in Chicago.

Goo.gl URL Shorterner Stops Serving - 2 Big Impacts for Small Businesses

goo-gl-stops-serving-short-urls.png

Wait...what? Goo.gl stopped working? Stopped URL shortening?

Yes. Sort of. For Normal People. For developers and large companies, Google has Firebase Dynamic Links as the new option. Ever since March 30, 2018, you couldn't use goo.gl anymore to create a shortened URL. What is a shortened URL? It's when you take a really long link, like this one:

https://members.tinshingle.com/articles/ask-the-experts/once-i-have-my-product-ready-when-can-i-start-contacting

And turn it into something that looks like this: goo.gl/39487sf . You would do this to share a shorter, easier link in social media or an email so that people don't get overwhelmed with looking at a really long link, and to fit with tight character (aka letter) restrictions at places like Twitter, which mandate that you write in 140 characters or less. Or they used to, and now that policy has shifted and more characters are allowed. You would also do this to get tracking data on how many people clicked on that link.

According to Google:

 

Starting March 30, 2018, we will be turning down support for goo.gl URL shortener. From April 13, 2018 only existing users will be able to create short links on the goo.gl console. You will be able to view your analytics data and download your short link information in csv format for up to one year, until March 30, 2019, when we will discontinue goo.gl. Previously created links will continue to redirect to their intended destination.

 

Translation into Normal Person: Google will stop shortening URLs, unless you use their new API. Goo.gle provided analytics to show you how many people clicked on your shortened link, and that will only be available to you for a year from now - via a download of an Excel document. No longer with an easy to read webpage in a Goo.gl interface be available to you.

Further details were provided on Goo.gl's blog, where they revealed that really they are continuing to develop URL shortening technology - probably on steroids - but only for API use. API (Application Programming Interface) is basically a connection between a fancy tool like the future goo.gl aka Firebase, and a website run by a business owner.

Setting up or working with an API is no easy feat and requires investment into relationships with knowledgeable programmers to get this done for you. Tin Shingle uses a few APIs for certain things. We won't for goo.gl because we didn't rely on this tracking data, but here's what this means for you:

Reminder That Free 3rd Party Tools May Stop Working

When you use a mega-awesome tool for free, this comes with a risk. The risk is that the tool will stop working. Or disappear overnight. Or disappear in 1 month with a heads-up announcement before it implodes. We have seen this with other tools that just...stop working. One such was a Cloud storage service. I already forget the name, but one day, users of it got an email saying that in one month, all data would be gone because Facebook bought it, and that's a wrap. #soannoying That's when I moved to Dropbox and happily pay them to store my data. Check out these search results to see how many cloud storage companies this happened to.

Tech Companies Looking to Profit May Benefit From the End of Free, Simple Goo.gl

This is a mystery to me - the Unicorn tech companies who create big, beautiful things, but don't make money. Rather, they make investor infusion cash, but not actual money from their business models working. This is curious to me because the free model can obscure pricing for those companies that do provide the service, and do it based on monies they actually earn from customers, not VC or angel investors.

Bit.ly is a URL shortening company that does charge for the service of shortening URLs, and does offer it for free. Bit.ly has created a beautiful website that is easy to use, as opposed to Google's (now known as Alphabet) which usually lack a beautifully designed interface because developers are kings in those parts. Not to knock a developer, but a developer focuses on data and just making sure the data is available to people, and a designer transforms that data - often cutting it out - so that a Normal Person can use it without getting overwhelmed.

Looks like many people are headed over to Bit.ly from Goo.gl, as Bit.ly has set up a pop-up box for it in their lower right corner of their website.

Bit.ly's been hard at work educating their customers and future customers with helpful marketing webinars, and other resources. Hopefully this new development of a free service being taken off the market works in their favor!

Fit Pregnancy & Baby Magazine Closes, But Merges In Print With Parent's Magazine

An associate publisher at Meredith Parents Network confirmed that Fit Pregnancy & Baby would be closing the print edition of the magazine with the December/January 2018 issue. Fit Pregnancy & Baby was known as a source for the inside scoop on how celebrities tackle pregnancy, coverage of the latest style trends, and the source for smart advice to millennial moms.

It does get better though! Fit Pregnancy & Baby will move into a special section in Parents, debuting in the March 2018 issue entitled Parents Baby. The sixteen-page section will be printed every other month targeting millennial women, especially expecting and new moms. Its content will focus on three pillars:

  • Health
  • Gear
  • Milestones

Other Family and Parenting Magazines To Keep On Your Radar

Other baby, family and parenting magazines to keep on your radar include:

  • Parents
  • Family Fun
  • Family Circle
  • Girl's Life
  • Pregnancy & Newborn
  • Women's Day
  • Boy's Life

"Ack! I Can't Keep Up! I Need A Magazine Closure Cheat Sheet!"

Done! Tin Shingle keeps an updated list of magazines that have folded, shuttered, and even ones that that came back from the print magazine graveyard. You'll get access to it with your All-Access Pass Media Contact Membership with Tin Shingle.

But Wait - I Want To Stay Ahead of the Game!

Want a head start on knowing what these magazines are working on right now? Tin Shingle keeps a list of content deadlines that these magazines are working on. Known as Editorial Calendars, these give businesses, artists, makers and brands the heads up as to the direction the magazine is headed in that month, which is a clue to you for how your business could fit into its pages. Editorial Calendars are a  great idea source as you look for ways to pitch a writer or editor about your business.

Editorial Calendars (see Tin Shingle's full list in our collection here) and corresponding Media Contacts are available to Level 4 All Access Pass Members of Tin Shingle. Learn more about the perks and different levels of membership.

 

Hoda Kotb Replaces Matt Lauer as Co-Host on Today Show, Keeps Co-Host Seat with Kathie Lee

Well a good morning and happy first day of the New Year 2018 to you as well, Today Show!

With Hoda and Savannah sitting in the middle of the Today Show's Twitter cover photo, and their first live taping wrapped up, many rejoiced at NBC's selection of Hoda as Matt Lauer's replacement during the 7am-9am hour after he was fired from the show for sexual misconduct. Hoda will remain as co-host with Kathie Lee in their 4th hour together which they have done since 2008.

The tone is already one of friendship and warmth. With People Magazine's cover story of Savannah and Hoda opening up about their feelings about the change, Today.com ran a story with excerpts from the article, including this memory from Savannah: “I remember reading something later that said I had grabbed Hoda’s hand, and of course that’s not something you plan. That’s just something you do because you have a real friend, and you need to hold her hand.”

Siri Daly's son observed: "Mommy there are more girls than boys!" With two women anchoring, how will the show's tone change? Already, maybe we have an answer. Hoda stated: "This is bigger than one person, it’s bigger than Matt, it’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than Savannah, it’s bigger than all of us."

I must confess: I don't watch the Today Show, aside from any research I do for Tin Shingle. TV distracts me, so I don't have it on in the background of anything. More notable, however, is my lack of interest in Matt Lauer. He never appealed to me, so the dynamic between him and anyone didn't interest me. Success is always in the people, so now, while ratings are soaring for the Today Show for the moment according to Variety, my interest is genuinely piqued.

I'm not alone, as who can forget that New York Magazine article for their 2013 story "Matt Lauer and the Decline of the Today Show" after Ann Curry left the show. From the article "The image of Matt Lauer trying to comfort her—and of Curry turning away from his attempted kiss—has become a kind of monument to the real Matt Lauer, forensic evidence of his guilt."

Perhaps this has been a move that has been needed for years, but NBC believed he was the key to the show. When change happens, it can be for the best, and can force your hand to do something that needed to be done long ago. We'll see how the ratings shake out, but here's how Twitter felt about it today: