YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – There’s a new face at The Business Journal office in downtown Youngstown.
Joining the staff is Deanne Johnson, who leads the Brain Gain coverage. She’ll also cover health care and banking stories.
Johnson graduated cum laude from Ohio University in 1994, earning a degree in journalism.
Becoming a wordsmith was instilled in Johnson at a young age. Her paternal grandmother, Ellen Forbes, was an avid reader and high school English teacher. To keep her grandchildren entertained, Ellen would write children’s fantasy stories, basing the main characters on Johnson and her siblings.
During college, Johnson was a sportswriter at The Athens Messenger. After graduating, she became a sportswriter for The Marietta (Ohio) Times and later the Orlando Sentinel in Florida. Following those endeavors, she spent 23 years as a general assignment reporter at the Morning Journal in Lisbon.
“I spent a great deal of time in the courtrooms, sometimes telling stories about the worst in people,” she says. “I also wrote positive stories about beneficial things people did in the community, including how people rally around each other in tough times.”
Working in Lisbon brought Johnson closer to home. She grew up on a farm in Columbiana County, where her parents were educators.
In addition to writing, Johnson also brings another passion with her: photography. She takes photos to illustrate her stories and in her free time as a hobby.
“I enjoy nature photography and taking family photos, which I use to tell my own family’s stories through scrapbooking,” Johnson says. Like her late grandmother Ellen, Johnson also enjoys journaling.
Johnson says she was “called” to become a journalist.
“I feel everyone has a story to tell, big or small, and there are not enough people in the world dedicated to telling those stories – and telling them well,” she says. Oftentimes, people rely on social media to share their news. But “that often only reaches those who already know you.”
Johnson lives in East Palestine with husband, Don, a lieutenant and K-9 handler with the East Palestine Police Department. They are joined by police dog Toney, a Belgian Malinois.
Her daughter, Kendra Hoover, is a third-generation Ohio University alumna, and shares Johnson’s passion for baseball. Hoover serves as the production manager in the front office of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
In her free time, Johnson enjoys traveling, fishing, kayaking and sports, particularly football and baseball.
Pictured at top: Deanne Johnson is leading the team that focuses on Brain Gain coverage.