Ebony Magazine gets a new editor-in-chief


By Victor O.

Johnson Publishing has announced a new editor-in-chief for Ebony magazine, coming about four months after the previous holder of the post suddenly decided to throw in the towel.

The new editor-in-chief of the Chicago-based magazine is journalist Kierna Mayo. She replaces Mitzi Miller who, somewhat unexpectedly, left the position in February after just 10 months.

Mayo has significant journalism experience under her belt. She has previously prepared articles for several notable publications, including Vibe, Essence and Marie Claire. Also, she was the co-creator and founding editor-in-chief of Honey Magazine, according to Black Enterprise.

In 2011, Mayo was hired at Ebony as the editorial director. She has been in charge of the monthly magazine since Miller’s exit. With Mayo at the helm, the magazine has had three issues, which include covers featuring hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar; talk show host Wendy Williams; and most recently, Beyoncé’s mother, Tina Knowles Lawson.

The 45-year-old, who will work out of Johnson Publishing’s office in New York, said her aim as the new editor-in-chief is to embark on a revival of Ebony’s “maverick spirit” of the 20th century, which is meant to be a probing and provocative approach to dealing with different topics.

Johnson Publishing is currently trying to re-position itself, having been faced in recent years with financial challenges which probably had a part to play in the recent editorial departures from the company. Diverse efforts have been made to boost the publisher’s profits, with these including the end of print production of the weekly Jet magazine.

Miller left her editor-in-chief role at Ebony in February “to pursue new ventures that include creating stories for television and film,” according to The Root. She previously served as the editor-in-chief of Jet magazine for more than three years.

Alongside Mayo, Johnson Publishing also promoted Kyra Kyles to serve as Ebony Magazine’s head of digital editorial. She joined the publishing company in 2011 as a senior editor for Jet and rose to the position of the editorial director of that magazine. Previously, the 39-year-old had been the brain behind a pop culture column dubbed “Kyles Files,” a production which was assigned a weekly broadcast segment on Chicago’s WGN-TV.

“Both women have strong print and digital backgrounds,” company Chairman Linda Johnson Rice said in a statement. “We want them to always be thinking across platforms.”


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