“Michelle possesses an unusual ability to blend experimentation and serious journalism with a practical, get-it-done attitude that’s inspiring.”
— Jane McDonnell, Executive Director, Online News Association
I have known Michelle Johnson for almost 20 years. She is a consummate journalist, editor and teacher. Her column on “Personal Technology” which appeared in the Boston Globe was one of the most widely read and talked about columns on technology issues in my workplace. It was always timely and presented technical information in a clear and accessible manner. Many people miss her voice on this topic. In the years that I have known Michelle I have been most impressed by her commitment and dedication to working with students in journalism. Her work with African American and Latino/Latina students is truly exemplary. I’ve seen her work with these students and what is most apparent is her enthusiasm and the innovative exercises she created that allow the students to develop the skills of a working journalist. I know of no one else who has made the kind of commitment Michelle has made to working with students and who has done it so well.
— Evelynn M. Hammonds, Dean of Harvard College, Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies
Michelle Johnson could rest on her career as the pioneering editor of Boston.com, but she has distinguished herself in several ways since moving into teaching. As opposed to many academics in new media, she really has taken the time to master and stay updated with the technical details of various skills needed for multimedia journalism. Her workshop approach is practical and useful. She spends her ”free” time often at conferences helping young journalists master these skills as well, starting and running student web sites for NABJ and NAHJ, among others. In that matter, she is developing the diverse voices and skills to reflect on nation’s changing face and interests — and to keep media relevant to a mass audience. She really cares about her students, as several who have worked at boston.com can attest.
— David Beard, Sitewide Engagement Editor, Washington Post
Michelle Johnson is one of those rare individuals who has made a significant difference in the journalism industry without looking for the recognition. Her commitment to diversity, to student journalists and to her colleagues is inspirational. Not to mention that she is one of the pioneer journalists who recognized the power of the Web and technology early on. We became good friends and partners in crime nearly 10 years when we co-organized NAHJ’s student online project. I had the pleasure of seeing her work with the students, mentoring them in the fundamentals of journalism as well as empowering them to be proud of the Web as it fought for its place among the other media. She’s had an incredible influence on me. She’s a wonderful person and great friend.
— Robert Hernandez, Assistant Professor of the Practice, USC Annenberg
Michelle Johnson isn’t just one of the mentors for NABJ’s annual summer convention news projects for college journalists. She is THE online mentor. From scratch, she created an online teaching and training program as part of the NABJ student projects, which operate at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention each summer. For years the organization operated TV, radio and newspaper projects to give college journalists hands-on experience in covering breaking news and writing profiles of members. But when the digital revolution came, there was only one member out of 4,000 to whom NABJ could turn to create the convention news web site that is now a staple of the four-day convention. And that was Michelle, whose patience and expertise combined to make the online program almost as popular as the daily newspaper distributed to convention go-ers. Few people teach better. Few people work harder. And her training wasn’t limited to students. She became the spirit guide of dozens of journalists dragged kicking and screaming into the New Age.
— Rochelle Riley, Columnist, Detroit Free Press
Michelle Johnson is a consummate professional with a strong background in both journalism and technology. For several years, I edited her personal technology column in the Boston Globe. Her ideas were always cutting edge, her execution flawless, and she was a pleasure to work with. And virtually alone among the columnists I’ve dealt with over the years, Michelle always filed on time.
— Robert Weisman, Business Writer, The Boston Globe
Michelle is more than a “Jill of all trades.” She is an expert in communications and technology; a patient, steady hand as an editor and manager; a sensitive, grounded journalist aware of the interests and needs of a diverse, contemporary community; and a woman who gives her full attention and commitment to her work with young people and seasoned veterans alike. I’ve had the pleasure of working with on a half-dozen student projects and programs in the past decade, and I’d gladly commit to more, knowing she’s there.
— Chuck Small, Raleigh, NC, National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association
Michelle Johnson has overseen the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ (NAHJ) Latino Reporter Digital online news project since 1997. Her dedication and hard work in helping to mold that next generation of journalists who have gone beyond the “cutting edge” in storytelling has been invaluable in the development of Latino student journalists who have gone on to join the professional ranks. NAHJ’s Latino Reporter Digital project is held at our annual convention for one week during the month of June. This project has broken news and, under Michelle’s leadership, has found unique and captivating ways to encourage students to tell stories.
Several of Michelle’s past student mentees have gone on to become successful professional journalists. Among them are:
- Icess Fernandez, education reporter, Shreveport Times of Shreveport, La.
- Blanca Torres, reporter, San Francisco Business Times
- Cristina Silva, reporter, The Boston Globe
There are scores of other Latino journalists who have had the opportunity to learn under Michelle’s tutelage. Her professionalism, dedication to quality journalism, and impeccable sense of ethics have played major roles in creating a solid foundation for journalists who come from diverse backgrounds to take that first step on the path to successful careers as storytellers.
— Kevin Olivas, Parity Project Director, National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)