Relying on public relations photos for your cover shots can be messy, as Jet magazine is finding out.
Jet editor-in-chief Mitzi Miller on Friday issued a defense of the magazine's use of a 10-year-old photo of cover subject Fantasia.
"JET magazine is honored to have Fantasia grace the cover of its March issue," her statement began. "It is unfortunate that Fantasia is displeased with the cover selection, however JET stands by its decision," Miller wrote.
"As standard editorial practice, JET consulted with Fantasia's team, but reserves the right to select the image we deem as most appropriate for JET's brand and reflective of the cover story sentiment.
"JET continues to root for Fantasia's success and encourages her fans to pick up the new issue."
Clutch magazine wrote on Wednesday, "Fantasia has been the subject of harsh criticism in the public eye for everything from admitting her illiteracy to being involved with a married man who eventually betrayed her. When news hit that she had attempted suicide, many of us wondered if she'd ever be able to find peace. She also recently posted about gay marriage in a rant about being judged, that many took issue with.
"The American Idol winner recently sat down with Jet Magazine for an interview in which she muses about self-love and raising her children, and appears to be in a better place...."
However, Clutch added, "...The singer erupted on Instagram, chastising the magazine for using an old photograph of her:
"'This saddens Me!!! It is clear that this picture is 10 Years Old and JET Magazine puts it on the Cover!! After I send them the NEW LOOK AND DIRECTION. . SAD!!! I WANT A PUBLIC APOLOGY FROM JET. Now im not sure if the interview is correct. SEE!! America they and use me as they crash Dummy BUT NO MORE. IF I DONT STAND FOR SOMETHING ILL FALL FOR ANYTHING.' "
While its full-size Ebony sibling shoots its own covers and was the only major black magazine to post an increase in advertising pages during 2012, Jet has lagged. Its frequency has been reduced from weekly to every two weeks, and although it now has editors from the hip-hop generation and has been redesigned, it saw a 16.1 percent drop in advertising pages last year. Ebony's rose 22.9 percent.
Still, Jet's reputation was partly built on photographs, such as those in 1955 of the mutilated body of the lynched 14-year-old Emmett Till, and years of Jet centerfold beauties.
So why wouldn't Jet want to shoot its own cover subjects?
"Cost cutting is the name of the game or so it seems," Samir Husni of the University of Mississippi, known as "Mr. Magazine," told Journal-isms by email. "Fewer magazines are taking their own photos, so this is more of the norm of small magazines rather than the exception." He added, "...times have changed and competition is now tougher even for the African American magazines..."
Miller told her Facebook friends she was exasperated. "The fact that I wasted an hour of my workday writing a press release to address an issue created by a person who cannot even read it is just... #whyiwannaBahousewife."
Source: Richard Prince's "Journal-isms" courtesy of The Root.