Pam Johnson

I don’t want women to just take it. I don’t want them to take the disparity that exists because it’s unfair.

— Pam Johnson

Pam Johnson

A distinguished journalist, Pam Johnson was raised in the small town of Carthage, Missouri. While attending a small, local college for a couple years, Pam’s brother-in-law got her a part-time job at the Joplin Globe which helped solidify her interest in writing and journalism.

Pam then decided to attend the Missouri School of Journalism and obtained her Bachelors in Journalism in 1969. Right after graduating, she began working at the Binghampton Press. By the beginning of the next year, she had moved on to work at the copy desk of The Kansas City Times. By 1977 she was working at The Kansas City Star where she won a Pulitzer Prize in 1982 with a team of reporters for their coverage of the Hyatt Hotel skywalk’s collapse. In 1988, Pam was offered the position of managing editor of the Phoenix Gazette which eventually led to another executive position at the Arizona Republic. She went on to receive the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism in 2000, and in 2004, she became the first executive director of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.

In addition to these accomplishments, Pam was one of the founding members of JAWS. As someone who participated in numerous organizations and associations (including serving as president of the Associated Press Managing Editors), Pam said that JAWS was special because of the “force of women behind [her].”

“[JAWS] is so rich when you get [women] sitting down and talking . . . and nobody’s there except you and people you can trust,” Pam said. “You can make friends. One of the things I told people why they needed to go was you meet such important people. Not important because they’re high up, but because they know things, smarter things, that you haven’t seen yet. We have to help women help women.”

This almost four hour oral history interview with Pam took place on October 10, 2013, at the Missouri School of Journalism.

( This interview was conducted by Yong Volz )