Apr 5, 2022 - News

Remembering Bruce Johnson

Bruce Johnson's book cover.
Photo: Kayla Sharpe/Axios

👋🏿 Hi, editor Kayla here.

Like so many Washingtonians, I was shocked Sunday night to learn of Bruce Johnson's passing. As a kid in Vienna, I grew up watching Johnson anchor on Channel 9, and as a Black D.C. journalist, I'll always be indebted to him.

I was lucky to connect with Johnson just last week, as it happens. My mother had attended an event where Johnson was signing copies of his latest book, "Surviving Deep Waters," and asked him to inscribe a copy for me. 

  • When she told him about my work at Axios, he did something else: He added his phone number and made her promise to have me reach out. 

We eventually got in touch via LinkedIn (his voicemail was full!), and made plans to chat. 

  • "[I] always make time for serious young journalists like you," he told me in a message last Thursday.

Our call never happened — it was scheduled for Monday morning, the day after he died. Watching the social media tributes hail Johnson as a mentor who supported young Black journos in particular, I know I would’ve taken notes on every word.

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