J.T. Johnson Biography


J. T. "Tom" Johnson is professor emeritus of journalism at San Francisco State University and co-founder of the Institute for Analytic Journalism. He has worked in publishing, journalism and higher education for 30 years. Most recently, he was a visiting professor of analytic journalism at Boston University for two years. While on leave from San Francisco State in the late '90s, he served as deputy editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Before joining the faculty JTJohnson Picat San Francisco State in 1976, he was an editor at Scientific American/W. H. Freeman and Company in San Francisco.


Before his move to California, Johnson, was working on his doctorate in American Studies -- focusing on the relationships between science and technology and society -- at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. He also holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas.


Beginning in 1969, he was a reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal, and a stringer for newspapers in Wichita, Kansas, and Kansas City, along with The New York Times, and United Press International. Simultaneously, he covered Western Missouri and Kansas for the Time-Life News Service.


Moving to San Francisco in 1974, Johnson continued his freelance association with Time-Life publications, covering stories throughout the West. Since 1980, he has increasingly turned to science writing, working on assignment for publications as diverse as Popular Science, OMNI, Discover, Fortune, Smithsonian, Mother Jones, Air Line Pilot, Popular Mechanics, Outside, Endless Vacation, InformationWEEK, MacWEEK and Air & Space. His work also has appeared in the Banker's Magazine (London), the Chicago Tribune, Washington Star and the Detroit Free Press.


In 1984 and '85, Johnson was a contract reporter for Time Magazine in Central America. Based in San Salvador, El Salvador, he reported on military, economic, social and political affairs in that nation and Guatemala, Mexico and Belize. He returned to Central America for a two-month reporting trip in the summer of 1990, supported by a grant from the Gannett Foundation, and again in the summer of 1991.  His current research focuses on the methodologies emerging from Complexity Studies, Geographic Information Systems, forensic accounting and performance measurement and their application to understanding change in the media and related issues of privacy.


A long-time personal computer user, Johnson has reported stories ranging from early word-processing systems to large-scale management information systems. In 1985-86, he designed the networked PC system used in the SFSU Journalism Department. In the spring of 1987, he was the founding editor of MacWEEK, the first weekly newsmagazine for users of Macintosh computers in the business world. He was a contributing editor to InformationWEEK magazine from March 1987 until May 1990. He became West Coast correspondent for Popular Science in May 1989, a position he held until October 1990. A consultant in the use of personal computers in journalism, Johnson is president of SARTOR: Editorial and Telecommunications Consultants, Santa Fe and San Francisco.


He is also co-author of three books: Help Yourself to a Healthy Heart (San Francisco: Mount Zion Hospital and Medical Center, 1984); The Sauna Book (New York: Harper and Row, 1977) and California from the Air (Mill Valley, CA: Squarebooks, 1981).


An experienced public speaker, Johnson has delivered academic papers and lectures and appeared on television and radio talk shows and numerous panels. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the National Association of Science Writers, National Assoc. of Hispanic Journalists and the Online News Association.


J. T. Johnson
1201 Madrid Road
Santa Fe, NM 87505