Investigative Journalist Inspires New Scholarship

Al JohnsonGreensboro, NC, (Oct. 3, 2017) – Friends and colleagues of the late Al Johnson have partnered with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to establish an annual scholarship named in honor of the veteran journalist, who attended N.C. A&T in the 1960s.

The inaugural recipient will be awarded during a lecture at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 3, in Crosby Hall, room 215, sponsored by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Johnson’s widow, Barbara Johnson will present the scholarship during the lecture, keynoted by his former Charlotte Observer colleagues, Ken Gepfert and Fannie Flono. The two will discuss and answer questions about “The Future of Journalism,” and how to prepare students for the industry.

“Despite the financial and other challenges facing the media, particularly newspapers, the future of journalism is bright as innovative ways are developed to distribute the news and inform the public,” said Flono.

Johnson mentored hundreds of reporters as a top editor at three former Knight-Ridder newspapers – The Charlotte Observer, Gary Post-Tribune (Indiana) and Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (Georgia) - and was the first African-American reporter for The Richmond News Leader in Richmond, Virginia. He was later an associate publisher of The Houston Business Journal and founding publisher of The Triad Business Journal for American Cities Business Journals in Greensboro.

“Everyone loved Al, who had a great smile and hearty laugh. He gracefully and bravely handled the reality of being a lone African- American leader in many small Carolina towns in the 1970s and '80s,” recalled Rich Oppel, a former Charlotte Observer editor and retired editor of the Austin American-Statesman.

The new scholarship will be made available annually to qualified A&T applicants, with preference given to journalism and mass communication students. Award requirements are based on academic achievement, community service, merit and need.

Contributions to The Al Johnson Annual Scholarship in journalism are welcome. For more information, visit the university’s giving page and indicate “Al Johnson Scholarship” as the designation.