The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) recently named Boston University professor Michelle Johnson as its 2013 Journalism Educator of the Year.
The NABJ Board of Directors selected Johnson, an associate professor of practice in mulitmedia journalism at Boston University, to be recognized along with other top honorees this summer at NABJ's 38th Annual Convention and Career Fair in Orlando, FL, the largest gathering of minority journalists in the world.
"Michelle is an exceptional journalist, a gifted teacher, a natural mentor, and an innovative thinker. All of which make her a valued resource for students and faculty alike,” NABJ President Gregory Lee, Jr. said in a statement. "We are proud to honor her for her work in the classroom and for her continued work with NABJ Student Projects.”
"I appreciate being recognized for doing work that means so much to me. I’d like to thank NABJ, my home organization, for your support over the years, and in particular my colleagues and the students who rock the student newsroom every year,” Johnson said. "I’m so proud and honored to be a part of such a great team.”
Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She began her professional journalism career as a copy editor with The Evening Press (Binghamton, NY). After that stint, she joined The Boston Globe starting as a copy editor on the night desk, then moved up to layout, assistant political editor to senior assistant night editor and then to copy desk supervisor.
While in this position she was one of 12 journalists chosen for the John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 1993. This opportunity opened the door to her fascination with personal computers and marrying it with reporting.
Upon returning to the Globe as assistant business editor, Johnson jumped at the opportunity to be on the team to launch boston.com, an award-winning regional website.
Johnson has a legacy of being an effective team member and team leader. During her professional growth, Johnson reached back into the classroom to "teach” as a NABJ Student Project mentor.
"NABJ has been a touchstone for me since I began my first newspaper job about a million years ago. NABJ was there for me as I transitioned from print to digital to freelancer to educator. In fact, I credit my work on the Student Projects with leading me toward a career as a journalism professor,” Johnson said.
And her higher education career remains on the track of embracing technology and online dissemination.
Along with her NABJ Student Project dedication, she took on the role of technology manager at the School of Communication at Emerson College, serving as an adjunct professor at Boston University, and guest faculty at Maynard Institute Multimedia Editing Program.
After three years as journalist-in-residence at Emerson, Boston University brought Johnson—and her multimedia and print experience—back to its campus, not as an adjunct, but as an associate professor.
"Because I didn’t get to where I am alone, I strive to honor my mentors by giving back by helping to prepare the next generation of journalists of color to excel and innovate,” Johnson said. "But truthfully, it’s also a lot of fun! It’s tough to get too jaded working around enthusiastic, energetic young people every day.”
Johnson’s commitment extends to journalism organizations such as NABJ, including as past editor of the NABJ Journal; member of Boston Association of Black Journalists; founding national board member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and co-founder of its New England chapter; and a member of the Online News Association.
NABJ's 38th Annual Convention and Career Fair will take place July 31–August 4, 2013 at the?Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center.