Editor and Chief of Ebony Magazine Amy DuBois Barnett speaks at the Columbia school of Journalism


I had the opportunity to hear Editor and Chief of Ebony Magazine Amy DuBois Barnett speak at the Columbia school of Journalism this past week, she offered her insight on media and her journey  in media. The topic was “How to be Successful in Media.” I was surprised to learn that Amy had never taken a magazine course or gone to journalism school. This EIC didn’t have what one would consider a formal education in the journalism which goes to show you may not have a degree in your chosen profession but if you have the life skills and know how you can make it. Amy does have a creative writing Masters degree from Columbia. During her journey that ultimately led her to be the EIC for Ebony she lived in Ireland where she decided she wanted to be a writer.  She worked for Glenda Bailey at Harper’s Bazaar, Former EIC at Honey Magazine, Teen People, and Essence.

To let Amy tell it her life took many left turns but they all helped her to get to where she is today. In her early years she worked for a whole year for free. She wrote for a site and didn’t get paid a dime. {This is something I can relate too} This was a sacrifice that she made in order to do something that she wanted.

As she talked more about media she denounced the notion that print is dead. She talked about the redesign of Ebony and how it was important that while reaching out to a newer demographic they still provided enough content that would keep their subscribers.

She gave the crowd good advice “take risk”, “be yourself”, don’t let yourself be pigeon hold, “cultivate a unique perspective”, these could be used not only for the media/magazine business but life in general.

She fielded questions from the audience and I could not let the opportunity go by without asking a PR related question. So I asked how does she like to get pitched, how should one pitch Ebony Magazine. I think my question touched a nerves ” I never get a good pitch” Amy said. Uh oh that’s not something a publicist likes to hear. “They are either poorly written, off topic, or boring” Even with that she encourages pitches to Ebony but they have to be good.

Key Tips when pitching Ebony:

Give ideas of what section of the magazine you are looking to have your client or product featured.

Where will it fit.

Is what you’re pitching something that Amy and/or the other writers will care about?

Give specifics.

Write your pitch well .

Make sure its something Ebony readers will care about.

I took quite of few notes from that nights presentation and when the event was over I went up to Amy  just to thank her for coming and sharing her knowledge with us.  Listening to her speak reinforced that there really isn’t one way to succeed. Everyone has their own path to success, some go a traditional route while others take a few left twist and turns. I think I’m on the twist and turns route. I am learning to be ok with that. Life is a journey.

Happy Flying,

~Solo Dove~

About the Author

Sandra Florent is the entertainment and non-profit publicist behind Solo Dove Public Relations. Based in New Jersey Solo Dove Public Relations provides personalized publicity, public relations, consulting, and event planning services to clients in their area of expertise.

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  1. Great article! Very insightful! Thank you for sharing!

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