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Posts Tagged ‘kierna mayo’

Ebony.com Seeks Pitches on ‘Black People With Amazing Stories to Tell’

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Ebony.com, an integral part of  Johnson Publishing’s 68-year-old brand, has recently undergone a major reinvention, largely thanks to its editorial director, Kierna Mayo. ”What you won’t find on Ebony.com is a lot of repurposed magazine content,” she explained. “What we try to do is extend the conversation.”

The site is on the hunt for fresh new writers, especially since 95 percent of its content is created by freelancers. The editors are open to pitches on a variety of topics:

“We want everything. We want great ideas. We want people to be thinking about black lifestyle in a very nuanced way,” said Mayo. Her editorial staff depends on its freelancers, so she encourages writers to send pitches covering the gamut from food, fashion and nightlife to social and newsy issues, as well, so long as they jump off the screen with original thought. Personal essays are also a hallmark of Ebony.com, and editors love pieces about everyday black people with amazing stories to tell. Experts are always welcome, too. “If there’s a lane that is your lane and you do it well,” Mayo offered, “we’d love to hear from you.”

To hear more about the site, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: Ebony.com.

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Kierna Mayo, Editorial Director of Ebony.com, on How She Handles Internet Trolls

kierna-mayo_articleKierna Mayo began her formidable career in magazines, helping to create one of the most memorable pubs of the ’90s for the hip-hop generation, Honey. After working at Essence Girl and CosmoGirl, Mayo dipped her toes in the digital pool while working for Tyra Banks’ Tyra.com, and she was hooked.

Mayo is currently the editorial director of Ebony.com, which recently received a major makeover. In the “Digital Media” week of Mediabistro’s Profit From Your Passion series, Mayo talks about reinventing websites, the keys to boosting traffic and how she deals with Internet trolls:

Trolls are a drag. They, first of all, and probably most importantly, divert the healthy conversation, dialogue and constructive criticism. The potential for people to be heard gets eclipsed by trolls and that, of course, is their intention. You just kind of have to exist in the world with them, keep your content above the fray and encourage your audience not to be intimidated because the brilliant ideas and thoughts that come out in community often inform editorial decisions. But I would be remiss if I wasn’t truthful about the fact that you think about how people respond to things as you create. I try not to let that kind of negative energy or intention take us off our path. There have been personal attacks on virtually all of us on the site. It’s part of the job. The democracy that digital media offers all of us comes with some really damning qualities.

To hear more from Mayo, including how The Daily Beast influenced her redesign, read: So What Do You Do, Kierna Mayo, Editorial Director of Ebony.com.

Ebony’s Bold, Vibrant Website Redesign

Ebony logo

If I could think of one word to describe the changes with Ebony in the last few years, it would be evolutionary.

In 2009, the magazine’s parent company Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) was rumored to be on the verge of financial collapse. In 2010, JPC sold their historic Chicago headquarters, named Amy DuBois Barnett as editor-in-chief, launched an iPad app to celebrate their 65th anniversary, and hired former White House Social Secretary Desirée Rogers as CEO of JPC. 2011 marked more big changes for Ebony, including releasing another iPad app, appointing Kierna Mayo as editorial director, digital, and tapping former ESQUIRE art director Darhil Crooks to completely revamp the print magazine’s design from cover-to-cover. (Crooks is now Creative Director at Ebony.)

Now, Ebony has debuted their new website redesign which complements and strengthens the magazine’s visual theme while bringing the brand into the 21st century.

Ebony Magazine Homepage
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