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New Orleans Television Editorialist Gives Lifetime Work to Loyola

Loyola press release - March 20, 2000

(New Orleans)—Phil Johnson, a 1950 Loyola graduate and former on-air editorialist for WWL-TV, will give Loyola University New Orleans his lifetime work which consists of over 10,000 broadcast editorials he produced throughout his 38-year tenure at WWL-TV.

Johnson will present the Rev. Bernard P. Knoth, S.J., university president, with the original manuscripts of his famous and well-known editorials during a ceremony honoring Johnson, an award-winning journalist, on Thursday, March 30, 2000 at 7 p.m. on the third floor of the university library.

This generous donation of his original collection of editorials created for WWL-TV over the course of nearly four decades will find a new home in the Booth-Bricker Special Collections and Archives, part of the J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library.

"...I have 38 volumes of words, 38 volumes of editorials tracking 38 years in the life of this city and this state... a unique commentary, an ad hominem history lesson for each and every weekday for most of the past four decades. I would like to offer these volumes to Loyola where, in that magnificent new library, they might serve the needs of scholars for years to come," commented Johnson.

"We are extremely honored that Phil has chosen our archives as the depository of his lifetime work. It is a significant addition to our special collections. Phil and his work have been respected and admired throughout the New Orleans community. His editorials will give scholars and researchers a thoughtful perspective on historical, social, and cultural issues which have shaped our city and nation during the last 38 years." said Fr. Knoth.

Johnson chose to make his career in his native New Orleans and joined the news staff of WWL-TV shortly after it was established. As a professional communicator he has received countless honors and awards. His writing and narration of television documentaries earned him an Emmy and two Peabody Awards—the Pulitzer Prize of television. However, he is proudest of several Gabriels, awarded by the Catholic Broadcasters Association for productions reflecting Catholic teachings and morals. The first graduate of Loyola’s journalism program to attend Harvard as a prestigious Nieman Scholar, Johnson achieved such recognition in his field that some 30 years later he was named to the Harvard selection committee to determine future Nieman Scholars.

Just recently he was named to the Louisiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame and merited a Lifetime Achievement Award from his peers in the New Orleans Press Club. In November 1999, he was bestowed Loyola’s highest honor, the Integritas Vitae Award.

The Department of Special Collections and Archives preserves materials related to the history of Louisiana, the South, the Society of Jesus, and the university. The collection derives its identity largely from its Jesuit holdings, including the University Archives, the Archives of the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus, and the personal papers of outstanding Jesuits.