by Jeffrey Stanley
Diane Weathers ’67 has been editor-in chief of Essence, the premiere magazine for African-American women, for three years. “The magazine is 34 years old. We have a circulation of 1,050,000,” says Weathers. “We're doing really well, and I love it.” The magazine has a total readership of 7.6 million, 29 percent of which is male.
“At Brooklyn Friends I developed a love for the word and for writing. The kids in my class were so amazing with language. I came into the school in 10th grade from a public school and was so amazed at my classmates. Boy, could they write,” Weathers says.
She ultimately went on to major in journalism at Syracuse University. “I sought a way to write and make a living at it,” she says. “I worked at Black Enterprise, Newsweek, Redbook, Consumer Reports. At Newsweek I developed my reporting skills.”
Weathers also likes to travel. “I had a stint at the UN as an information officer and lived in Italy for 6 years.” In fact, she recently flew to Rome for four days to visit a friend who was injured when the UN headquarters in Baghdad was bombed.
Finally she wound up at Essence, which, she says, “is the one place where everybody gets what I’m trying to do. I have a vision, I’ve always loved the power of the media to influence, to entertain, to shape lives. With this magazine I’m speaking to people like me, like my friends. I’m carrying a message I don’t think any other magazine is carrying. We’re speaking mostly to black women, and race makes things a bit different.”
Weathers grew up in Brooklyn, first in Bedford-Stuyvesant and then the Ft. Greene-Clinton Hill area “before it was so chic.” Today she lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.
Her advice for young African-American women who are interested in pursuing careers in journalism: “Don't get stuck.” She cautions that “it’s been very hard. It’s been difficult. I would recommend you move around a lot. That’s what I did. If something’s not working out for you, try something else. I had to move out to move up.”