Emerge Magazine: The Business of Ethnic Publishing

18 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Geraldine R. Henderson

Geraldine R. Henderson

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business

Cheri Cannon

affiliation not provided to SSRN


This case can be used to show students the importance of market definition, segmentation, targeting, and positioning to the success of a firm. It may also be used to (re)introduce students to the issues surrounding marketplace diversity.




In February of 1997, the Emerge magazine editorial and marketing staffs were engaged in a lengthy discussion regarding the optimal strategy to increase annual subscriptions and grow the business of the eight-year-old magazine. Emerge was created as a general-interest magazine that covered the news and other topics, such as health, business, social and cultural trends, celebrity personalities, and the arts, from an African American perspective. The original founder, Wilmer Ames, conceived the idea for the magazine when he realized that other ethnic magazines were not targeting the upscale, well-educated African American audience. With financial assistance, the magazine was launched in 1989.

As Editor-in-Chief George Curry, looked out of the window of Emerge's Washington, D.C. headquarters, he was aware that a key component of the magazine's marketing strategy would be increasing advertising revenue. He also knew this task would not be easy. Curry had several years of experience in the publishing business under his belt before taking the lead role at Emerge in 1993. He had served as bureau chief and correspondent for over 21 years at the Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Sports Illustrated.

Although Curry and his editorial staff had created a niche in the magazine market with Emerge as a strong voice in black America, there was concern over declining subscription sales and advertising dollars. Therefore, his team had to overcome these obstacles inherent in the magazine industry, which are inflated for ethnic magazines like Emerge.

Magazine Industry

. . .

Keywords: diversity, management of, entrepreneurship, market position, segmentation, positioning

Suggested Citation

Henderson, Geraldine R. and Cannon, Cheri, Emerge Magazine: The Business of Ethnic Publishing. Darden Case No. UVA-M-0682, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=910103

Geraldine R. Henderson (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

Cheri Cannon

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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