John F. (Jack) Barnett, longtime journalist, ad salesman, co-founder of Golf Digest and former Ad Age assistant business manager, died April 10 in Houston. He was 89.
Mr. Barnett launched, grew and sold several publications throughout his career, and unlike most journalists also immersed himself professionally in advertising and sales.
Mr. Barnet was raised in Chicago and attended Northwestern University, where he edited the Daily Northwestern. He worked for a variety of smaller local media including the Waukegan News-Sun, where he served as both a general assignment reporter and ad salesman (not simultaneously). He served Korea, Japan and the Philippines in the Naval Reserve in World War II, and went on to help manage sales and promotion for the Chicago-based Thor Corp., after successfully launching an employee magazine for the company.
In 1951 Mr. Barnett helped longtime friend Bill Davis launch Golf Digest in his spare time, producing most of the editorial content and handling all sales, promotion, production and circulation himself. The magazine is now in its 60th year of publication, currently under Conde Nast.
He joined the staff of Advertising Age in the late '50s as an ad salesman, and eventually became assistant business manager. He married Helen Conlin, then Ad Age's feature editor, in 1960. Later, Mr. Barnett helped conceive and launch One-Design Yachtsman, the Magazine for Racing Sailors, which, after a period of ownership by the New York Times, is still in publication as Sailing World.