Meet the Media: Mandi Johnson

Bailie Pelletier / May 4, 2020


Up next on our Meet the Media series is Mandi Johnson, editor at The Journal of the San Juan Islands. Read all about Mandi below and be sure to check out some of her stories!


1. How did you find yourself in your current role?

I was seeking a position in the newspaper industry and through some networking, the publisher of the San Juan Island newspapers learned my name and emailed me to see if I’d like to be a reporter. I worked my way up from reporter to editor in a little over three years.


2. Which of your stories are you most proud of?

I love reporting on the environmental situations affecting the Salish Sea. I am proud of my coverage of the plight of the Southern resident orcas and other science-related articles I’ve written.


3.What is your favorite thing about your job?

The people I work with. We have a pair of small offices in the islands and all of the people with whom I work have become extended family.


4. What is your interview style?

I am a “go with the flow” style interviewer. I usually enter interviews with questions in mind, but also let what the interviewee says dictate where I go next with the conversation.


5. What do you look for in a story?

I look for how that story will affect not just the humans in the area but the environment at large. I like to take readers outside of their own shoes and remind them that we’re not the only creatures on this planet.


6. What is your day like at your job?

Kind of nuts, honestly. As editor of a very small paper, I am not only responsible for overseeing what goes into print, but for writing three-five articles per week; coordinating with the community for press releases; creating graphics to accompany print and web articles; paginating (laying out) the paper; and more. Each day is different as I never know what will cross my desk needing attention.


7. Who do you most look up to in the journalism industry?

I don’t know that I have a particular person that I look up to. It really varies from topic to topic. A local journalist who I have come to really respect is Lynda Mapes of the Seattle Times. Like myself, she is passionate about the environment and we’ve reported on many of the same topics. It’s always fun to read how someone else interprets and disseminates the same information you’ve received.


8. What is your favorite news outlet?

I tend to head to Associated Press and Reuters for my news updates as they’re the least likely to have any sort of bias in their reporting.


9. Fill in the blank:

If I am not reporting, I am… hanging with my cats or off on an adventure.
If I could interview anyone, it would be… Greta Thunberg. I’m so impressed by this young woman and her passion for the environment.
My favorite thing about the Pacific Northwest is… everything. From the ocean on our west to the mountains in the east, I love the beauty that surrounds us here in the Pacific Northwest.


10. What is your guilty pleasure?

The Masked Singer. Something about that silly show has me absolutely hooked!


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