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Reports: Ebony magazine sheds staff, moving HQ to Los Angeles

Ebony Magazine agreed to pay out $80,000 among 45 freelancers on Wednesday to settle a lawsuit over the magazine’s failure to pay for contracted and published work. | Sun-Times file photo

Chicago-based Ebony Magazine is losing about a third of its editorial staff and moving its primary editorial operations to Los Angeles, according to media reports.

The magazine will join longtime sister publication Jet under that magazine’s L.A.-based editor, Tracey Ferguson, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.

The longtime parent company of both magazines, Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Co., sold the titles last year to a Clear View Group, a Texas-based private equity firm. Ebony and Jet have chronicled African-American life for the past 71 years.

Ebony Media, as the parent company now is known, will keep an office in Chicago. Linda Johnson Rice, Ebony Media CEO, will stay in that job, and will remain based in the downsized Chicago office, according to the Tribune.

Crain’s Chicago Business reported that the magazines dismissed “nearly all their local employees.”

Johnson Rice also is reclaiming both the chairman and CEO titles at Johnson Publishing when current CEO Desiree Rogers leaves the Chicago company next month, according to Crain’s.

Ebony magazine, founded by John Johnson, first hit the newsstands in 1945. It has been hit by declining circulation and revenues in recent years. Linda Johnson Rice is his daughter.

Contributing: Associated Press