An appreciation of Haynes Johnson by Eric Newton, Knight Foundation’s senior adviser to the president. Johnson, a legendary political reporter who spent the past 15 years of his long career as the Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the University of Maryland, died Friday, May 24, 2013.
Haynes was not just the best of the old school but of any school, a shoe-leather reporter before most of today’s reporters were born, a giant in political journalism whose work shaped the nation, a devoted teacher who went out the way he wanted to, working to the end.
He was a Washington Post powerhouse, a frequent best-selling author, a TV analyst and a Pulitzer Prize-winner for his civil rights coverage. But in the decade I worked with him, I never heard anyone call him anything but Haynes. His work took him to the top of America. But he was always down-to-earth. This week was no exception. Not quite 82 years old, he finished the semester at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. On Monday, he went to graduation ceremonies. But by Friday he was dead.