March 7, 2012
Cara Philbin, NPR



Award-winning NPR Newscast Editor Brenda Michelle Box Johnson died this morning after an illness.

Since 2003, Johnson shaped the sound of NPR Newscasts. Johnson came to NPR with an extensive resume in news and radio: since graduating with a journalism degree from Colorado State University, Johnson has worked as a Capitol Hill correspondent for USA Today Broadcasting/Gannett News Service, as an anchor for the UPI and NBC/Mutual Radio networks, and as a reporter for West Virginia Public Radio and WTOP.

"Brenda had an exacting eye and a natural, comfortable way in her dealings with reporters and correspondents, distinguishing her as the type of consummate editor that most organizations can only dream of," said NPR newscast executive producer Robert Garcia. "Anyone who ever dealt with Brenda knows what a special and unique person she was; equal parts outspoken and hilarious, brilliant and fun and warm and self-deprecating."

Outside of broadcasting, Johnson worked for the Wilderness Society, the National Wildlife Federation and served as Press Secretary for the District of Columbia's City Administrator and, as a long-time member of the National Association of Black Journalists, was honored with an NABJ Excellence Award for her series on Black Pioneers. The Gannett News Service also honored Johnson for her radio coverage of the 20th anniversary of the Civil Rights March on Washington.

Johnson's family requests that by way of remembrance, contributions in her name can be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Details are not yet available regarding a memorial service.