EVER since W.E.B. DuBois founded the Crisis in 1910 as the...


April 08, 1994

EVER since W.E.B. DuBois founded the Crisis in 1910 as the official organ of the NAACP, the magazine has held an honored place among publications dedicated to the struggle for equal rights for all Americans. Yet in one crucial respect, the magazine didn't practice what it preached -- in its 84 year history, the Crisis had never had a woman editor.

All that changed in January, when Crisis publisher Gentry W. Trotter named Denise Crittendon, formerly of the Detroit News, as managing editor of the venerable journal. Ms. Crittendon, 40, is the first woman ever to hold that position as well as the youngest person to be appointed top editor in the Crisis' history.

Ms. Crittendon, a former feature writer, says she intends to shake things up a bit at a publication that had grown somewhat stodgy over the years.

"I want writing that sparkles, more news features and bright, new young voices," she says.

Over the coming year she plans to gradually make over the magazine's design and editorial philosophy to increase its appeal to the younger generation of blacks whom NAACP Executive Director Benjamin Chavis hopes to draw into the organization.

Does this mean Ms. Crittendon wants the Crisis to look like a hip-hop version of Spy or Vanity Fair? "I just want the magazine to read well," she says. "For so long people took the Crisis because it had this great history, but then they never read it. I want to make this a magazine people actually read."

Tina Brown, look out!

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