Johnson Publishing Company names new editorial leadership

CHICAGO (June 15, 2015) — Today, the Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) announced the new wave of leadership behind the recent compelling covers that have grabbed the attention of pop-culture fans and industry alike. Designed to leverage its properties across all platforms, effective today, JPC presents the team behind the new look and enhanced print/digital focus.

Kierna Mayo (@KiernaMayo, Twitter/IG) serves as Editor-in-Chief, VP, Digital Content and will operate out of the JPC New York office. In addition to defining the overall editorial direction for Ebony, this role is responsible for maintaining the tonal and aesthetic consistency of the Ebony brand across all platforms.

“When a magazine changes editorship and embarks on new editorial and creative direction, one of the first discussions is about covers. We have a distinct advantage here at EBONY because we’ve been doing this for 70 straight years,” says Mayo. “In strategizing about what EBONY needs today, it’s clear that it is time to return to the maverick spirit that gave us our wings in the beginning. We don’t need permission to be daring. Get ready for a new EBONY— smart, modern, forward and totally fresh for a new generation.”

Kyra Kyles (@TheKylesFiles, Twitter/IG), who just last year was tapped to serve as Editorial Director of JET, has been promoted to Vice President, Head of Digital Editorial responsible for online content on,, and their respective mobile platforms. This position utilizes all JPC digital assets, including social-media channels, to deliver compelling content that attracts users and clients to the venerable brand.

“In this newly created role, my goal is to ensure that Johnson Publishing Company’s journalistic platforms are the first and last place African-Americans go for credible, engaging exclusive, original and curated content,” says Kyles. “I will leverage my broadcast, print and digital media experience to tell our stories in new and exciting ways.”

EBONY is the largest print publication (over 9.3M monthly readers) serving an African-American audience. Mayo joined the Johnson Publishing family in 2011 as Editorial Director and led the brand architecture for the re-imagining of EBONY online. Mayo spearheaded the site’s development from concept and wireframes to reality, and was responsible for staffing across all verticals and departments.

Following the launch of, Ad Age listed EBONY as a 2012 “magazine brand to watch.” was named a “Best Digital Magazine” finalist in the MIN/FOLIO 2013 Best of the Web Awards as well as a “Salute to Excellence” NABJ 2013 digital finalist and winner.

Mayo began her career in the 90’s as an early “hip hop journalist” exploring gender issues within the art form. She later catapulted to co-creator and founding Editor-in-Chief of the groundbreaking Honey magazine. Her writings have appeared in newspapers, academic texts and multiple books including And It Don’t Stop: The Best American Hip Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years. For over two decades, Mayo has covered race, women and culture for leading national publications including Essence, Vibe, and Marie Claire among others. Prior to joining JPC, she was a creative consultant for Black Entertainment Television/VIACOM, Editorial Director of, and Senior Editor of CosmoGirl, a Hearst Publication. She is a graduate of Hampton University.

Kyles, an award-winning multimedia journalist and content creator with both hard and feature news experience, originally joined JET as a Senior Editor for the print edition in 2011, overseeing the lifestyle coverage while maintaining a highly buzzed-about online feature, Keeping it 140, lampooning the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter travails of public figures.

Kyles was promoted to the Editorial Director of JET, overseeing the strategy for the fast-growing digital brand after making her mark as Managing Editor for, where she dramatically increased site traffic, social media reach, and expanded the outlet’s lifestyle, sports, entertainment and news coverage on the site to meet visitors’ voracious appetite for service- and expert-oriented pieces.

Prior to joining JPC, Kyles, Chicago native and Northwestern University alumnae, gained national recognition as a Tribune Company columnist and creator of the “Kyles Files,” a celebrated pop culture column that was accompanied by her own weekly WGN-TV pop culture segment. A winner of the company’s coveted Jones Beck Award for editorial writing, she also innovated “the track-off,” an online competition for indie artists, which was reverse published in the millennial-focused Tribune RedEye publication.

Kyles, one of WVON and Ariel Capital’s “Top 40 Under 40 Game Changers” and Chicago Defender’s “40 Under 40 to Watch” is immediate past President of the National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago chapter. She also is a speaker, pop culture pundit and academic lecturer who co-created and taught a well-regarded course at Northwestern University on hip-hop origins and culture.



EBONY is the number one source for an authoritative perspective on the multidimensional African-American community. The EBONY brand, including print and digital, reaches over 10.2 million readers monthly.

Our media reflects the cross-section of Black America as delivered by our best thinkers, trendsetters, activists, celebrities and next-generation leaders.

EBONY ignites conversation, promotes empowerment and celebrates aspiration. We are the heart, soul and pulse of Black America and a catalyst for reflection and progression.

Follow and engage with Ebony – @EbonyMag on Twitter, EbonyMag on Facebook, on Tumblr, and on the web.

We are not “new Black,” nor “old Black,” we are ALL Black.


JET magazine, initially billed as “The Weekly Negro News Magazine,” is noted for its role in chronicling the early days of the Civil Rights movement. The publication, now in an all-digital format, continues provide our readers with credible coverage of current events, entertainment news, healthy living guidelines, and fashion and beauty tips. The magazine has been a trusted news source to Black Americans since 1951, bringing life to its popular catchphrase: “If it isn’t in JET, it didn’t happen.”

Visit “Like” GetJETMag on Facebook, Follow @GetJETMag on Twitter and Instagram.

Press Contact:
Jada Russell | | 312-375-4136


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