Media Profile: Roy Johnson

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Roy Johnson, 44, is the editor in chief of Savoy, a lifestyle magazine for upwardly mobile African-Americans aged 25 to 54. The concept was developed as a black counterpart to Vanity Fair and GQ by Mr. Johnson 1n 1995 while he was at Time Inc. The idea finally gained its legs when Keith Clinkscales, chairman-CEO of Vanguarde Media, hired Mr. Johnson in April from his post as contributing editor at Fortune. Savoy launched last year with a rate base of 200,000. It will publish 10 issues this year.

Advertisers: The first issue had 50 pages of advertising from a wide array of marketers including Absolut, Charles Schwab & Co., United Airlines and Walt Disney World. Future issues will include ads from HBO, IBM Corp. and Nike.

Edge: He notes that an increasing number of African-Americans are becoming homeowners. They "buy appliances, cars and travel. All that ripple effect is very clear. Not more than 15 minutes goes by without some product being promoted [on TV] to a hip-hop beat. That shows there's a broader acceptance of African-Americans as viable customers for just about any product," he said.

Point of view: "Savoy takes its title from the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, ... one of the first places where blacks and whites socialized together. When it comes to politics, art and other aspects of [American] culture, there's a recognition that [African-Americans] are reaching certain levels of success and influence. Savoy is the place to be for anyone interested in how African-Americans affect those areas," said Mr. Johnson.

Content: "We look at aspects of a story that editors at other publications just might not be cognizant of. I want those editors to read Savoy and say, `We should have done that story.' "

Coup: "Getting Walter Mosley to write an exclusive series for us. He had been writing `Tempest Tales' with the express desire to have them featured in a black publication. He wanted to mirror what Langston Hughes did with the `Semple Stories,' which ran in the Chicago Defender between the 1940s through the 1960s."

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