Former CNN President Tom Johnson On A Lifetime In Journalism

Jun 28, 2018

On this edition of “Two Way Street,” Tom Johnson shares stories about his life and career in journalism.

We’re revisiting this conversation — and other favorites — as part of our “Two Way Street” anniversary celebration. To kick off our fifth year, we’re listening again to the shows that we can’t let go: the conversations that challenged us, surprised us and have stuck with us all these years. This show originally aired on January 14, 2017.


Johnson honed his skills as a young journalist working at his hometown newspaper, the Macon Telegraph. He went on to serve as a press aide to President Lyndon Johnson and eventually became one of Johnson’s closest confidants.

Following his career in government, he served as publisher of the Los Angeles Times. There, he took the paper to new heights of respect for its investigative journalism and progressive editorial policies.

He was then named president of CNN, where he worked closely with founder Ted Turner to dramatically raise the profile of the cable news operation. But throughout much of that time, Johnson kept secret a debilitating condition that at times challenged his capacity to keep going day to day.