Johnson Publishing Pitch Gets Standing Ovation From Harvard Business Students

Chairman emeritus Linda Johnson Rice wows "Black Entrepreneurship" audience

The course is titled “Black Business Leaders and Entrepreneurship.” And per a great item this week by Journal-isms editor Richard Prince, a recent session of the Harvard Business School track is going to be hard to top.

The guest was Linda Johnson Rice, chairman emeritus of Johnson Publishing Co., which puts out Ebony and, until a few years ago also regularly in print, Jet. Rice reviewed the fortunes of Ebony as a case study, explaining why the parent company was sold in 2015 and how things are starting to turn around:

Steve Rogers, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School who is African-American, told Journal-isms by telephone on Tuesday, “The students stood up and gave her a standing ovation… All of us wanted to make investments.”

Wow. Prince separately touched base with Ebony Media CEO Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, who outlined all kinds of interesting additional specifics. Starting with the idea that she and her colleagues are looking into the possibility of relaunching Jet as a limited newsstand print publication, basing that operation in California and aiming overall at a millennial audience.

McKissack also confirmed that Ebony Media will roll out at least five more special commemorative issues of Ebony like the $10.99 one about the Obamas released in December. She told Prince the first of these will hit newsstands March 14, but declined to divulge the topic.

Pictured: February 2017 issue cover