Pine Journal publisher to retire after 21 years
Longtime Pine Journal Publisher Wendy Johnson will meet her final news deadline as she retires following the publication of this week's issue of the Cloquet-based newspaper.
Longtime Pine Journal Publisher Wendy Johnson will meet her final news deadline as she retires following the publication of this week’s issue of the Cloquet-based newspaper.
Johnson has served as a reporter, editor and publisher for the Pine Journal and its predecessors for 21 years.
“Wendy will be sorely missed by her staff and the communities in Carlton County,” said Pine Journal Editor Jana Peterson. “We will miss her writing and photos, her gentle humor and her wonderful leadership.”
Johnson, a 1971 graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism, began as editor of the Cloquet Journal, which was independently owned and published by Keith Hansen. The first issue of the start-up newspaper was published on April 1, 1994. After Hansen’s departure and the sale of the newspaper to Ashland-based Martinson Investments in 1997, Johnson became general manager.
In subsequent years, the newspaper was bought and sold four more times.
“I felt a little like a mediocre major league baseball player!” Johnson joked.
The newspaper was merged with its cross-town rival, the Pine Knot and Manney’s Shopper, in 2002 to become the Pine Journal and Northland Smart Shopper, and Johnson was named publisher.
Today, the newspaper and the shopper are owned by Forum Communications of Fargo, N.D., which also owns the News Tribune.
In recent years Johnson has managed a staff of five to eight, including reporters, salespeople, graphic artists and business office personnel, while continuing to tackle reporting duties herself.
Over the years, Johnson has earned several awards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association for her reporting and editorial writing, and has joined the newspaper staff in garnering several other major awards as well.
A public open house will be held in Johnson’s honor from 3-6 p.m. Thursday at the Pine Journal office, 122 Avenue C in Cloquet. Friends and former colleagues are invited to stop by for refreshments and wish her well on her retirement.
As a special highlight, all of those who have been featured in the “Our Neighbors” columns of the Cloquet Journal/Pine Journal over the years are invited to gather at 5:15 p.m. for a special group photo with Johnson.
As Johnson departs, Carlton County native Jamie Lund will be joining the Pine Journal staff.
Lund has been working as a freelance photographer for the Pine Journal for several years and started writing stories on an occasional basis more recently. Her connections to Forum Communications go back even further; Lund worked as an intern at the Superior Telegram in 2007 while she was attending the University of Wisconsin-Superior.