Ron Johnson directs IU Student Media, the auxiliary unit whose students produce the Indiana Daily Student daily newspaper, Arbutus yearbook and Inside magazine.
The publications, their sites and social media serve thousands of readers, and their student journalists earn top national honors.
Johnson is past president of three journalism associations — College Media Advisers, the Western Association of University Publications Managers and Kansas Associated Collegiate Press. CMA (now College Media Association) named him to its adviser hall of fame in 2012.
He serves on the board of the National Scholastic Press Association/Associated Collegiate Press. He is a former board member of the Student Press Law Center, in Washington, D.C., and he remains on its advisory board. Besides advising the IU publications, he advises the Media School's chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
Before coming to IU in 2008, Johnson taught editing, design and visual journalism at Kansas State University for 19 years. For 15 of those years, he directed student publications and advised the students who produced the award-winning Kansas State Collegian daily newspaper.
He is a 1981 graduate of Fort Hays State University (Kan.), where he edited both the newspaper and yearbook. In 1982 he earned a master’s in journalism at the University of Kansas. In 1985, after teaching high-school English and writing for the Wichita Eagle-Beacon (Kan.), he returned to Fort Hays to direct the journalism program and advise its publications.
When the U.S. Supreme Court curtailed the press rights of public high-school journalists in its 1988 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier case, Johnson led the lobbying in Kansas to restore those rights. In 1992, Kansas became the sixth state to pass legislation offsetting the decision and securing the rights of high-school journalists and their advisers.
He is a long-time contributor to the international Society for News Design, and he edited six annual editions of the society’s Best of Newspaper Design book.
Johnson has taught at numerous workshops and conventions across the nation and in Canada. His primary focus is on newspaper design, as well as copy editing, grammar and newsroom management.