Pam Johnson became the first executive director of the Reynolds Journalism Institute in November 2004. She previously served as a member of the Leadership Faculty at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, in executive and managing editor positions at The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette and as assistant managing editor at The Kansas City Star. Johnson also worked at The Joplin Globe and the Binghamton (N.Y.) Evening Press.
Johnson has served as president of the Associated Press Managing Editors, as a Pulitzer juror and as a judge for the American Society of Newspaper Editors Best Writing Awards contest. She has served on numerous boards including ASNE, APME, the Freedom Forum Pacific Coast Center, Investigative Reporters and Editors, The Foundation for American Communications and the Missourian Publishing Association. Johnson is a founder of the Journalism and Women's Symposium, a group formed to help women in newspapers through networking.
A 1969 journalism graduate of the University of Missouri, Johnson was awarded the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism in 2000. She shared the 1982 Pulitzer Prize that was awarded to The Kansas City Star and Kansas City Times for coverage of the Hyatt Hotel skywalks collapse.