Johnson honored with Bliss Award

Glenn A. Johnson, the “Voice of the Cougs” for more than 20 years and the head of the broadcast program at Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow School of Communication, has been named the recipient of the 2008 Edward L. Bliss Award for Distinguished Broadcast Journalism Education.

The award, given by the Radio-Television Journalism Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, recognizes an electronic journalism educator who has made a
significant and lasting contribution to the field in the areas of teaching, service and scholarship.

Johnson, who joined the WSU faculty in 1979, teaches television and radio news writing, producing and management. He also has served as Mayor of Pullman since 2004.

“We have long known how exceptional Glenn Johnson is as a teacher and mentor, and we’re so delighted to see him recognized with such a significant, national award,” said Erica Austin, distinguished professor of communications and interim director of the Murrow School.

As a recipient of the award, Johnson joins an elite group of educators given the award named for Bliss, a long-time writer, producer and editor for CBS News. Bliss was known for his work with Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite and ended his career as an educator at American University which now houses the plaques bearing the award winners’ names. Johnson will be honored in a special ceremony on August 7 at the AEJMC national convention in Chicago.

“It seems fitting to me that Glenn would receive a major award named for Ed Murrow’s colleague and producer just as the Murrow School has been elevated to college status,” Austin said. “The university’s decision to create the Murrow College has a lot to do with the ever-increasing impact of Glenn’s extraordinary work on our behalf.”

Johnson was the first educator to be inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences-Northwest Chapter’s Silver Circle. The Silver Circle comprises media professionals with at least 25 years experience who have made a significant contribution to the television industry and their communities. Former students started an endowment in his name as part of that honor.

A member of numerous civic boards, associations and committees, Johnson is also a much-sought speaker across the region and the country. He began his career in 1962 in Central California at a 5000-watt radio station in the Modesto-Turlock market. He has worked as a newspaper columnist, wire service reporter and editor, television host, reporter and editor during his distinguished career.

Past winners of the Bliss Award (formerly Distinguished Broadcast Journalism Educator Award): Jack Shelly, Iowa State (1983); Ed Bliss, American University (1984); Dick Yoakam, Indiana (1985); Henry Lippold, Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1986); Rod Gelatt, Missouri (1987); Mitchell Charnley, Minnesota (1988); Don Brown, Arizona State (1989); Irving Fang, Minnesota (1990): Ernest F. Andrews, Syracuse (1991): Al Anderson, Texas- Austin (1992): Michael Murray, Missouri-St. Louis (1993); Joseph R. Dominick, Georgia (1994): Joan Konner, Columbia (1995); Gordon Greb, San Jose State (1996); Travis Linn, Nevada-Reno (1997); Vernon Stone, Missouri (1998); Elmer Lower, ABC, NBC (1999) Ken Keller, SIU-Carbondale (2000); Lincoln Furber, American University (2001); James Hoyt, Wisconsin (2002); Phillip O. Keirstead, Florida A&M University (2003); Thomas Griffiths, Brigham Young University (2004): Peter Mayeux, University of Nebraska (2005), Bill Knowles, The University of Montana (2006), Jim Upshaw, The University of Oregon (2007).

Editor’s Note:  Edward L. Bliss was featured speaker at WSU on Jan. 21, 1994, during the national first day of issue ceremony for the Edward R. Murrow U.S. postage stamp. The ceremony took place in the KWSU-TV studios in the Murrow Communications Center.

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