Black graduated from Trinity College in Washington, DC in 1966. She sold advertising for magazines such as Holiday and Travel & Leisure before joining New York magazine in 1970. She helped launch Ms. magazine two years later, becoming associate publisher. Black returned to New York, and was named publisher in 1979. She was the first woman to publish a weekly consumer magazine. In 1983 she took over a new newspaper, USA Today, and by 1991 its circulation had risen to 1.8 million, second only to the Wall Street Journal. Black left USA Today to head the Newspaper Association of America. In 1995, she was hired to run Hearst Magazines, which publishes Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping and Harper's Bazaar. Black is also on the board of directors of IBM and Coca-Cola.