Skip Navigation

Kathy Johnson

Gaylord Extra: April 2023

Faculty Feature: Kathy Johnson

By Analyse Jester, Gaylord College Class of 2025

Kathy Johnson, the McMahon Centennial Professor at Gaylord College, makes a special effort to recognize strong women in the profession. Her position also allows her to invite media professionals to work directly with Gaylord students and help them build professional skills in broadcast journalism.

Her time at Gaylord has given Johnson many opportunities, including teaching a practicum class, Gaylord In-Depth, alongside Prof. Mike Boettcher. The class allows students to dive deep into topics to create stories. Their TV news magazine program, "Oklahoma: The Natural Disaster State," was the first in Gaylord to win an College Emmy Award.

“Gaylord was honored to win for our natural disaster coverage,” Johnson said. “I am sure the students will win more.”

The class teaches students professionalism and gives them real opportunities to practice their skills.

It “gives voices to people who normally don’t get voices in Oklahoma; we wanted to make sure that we tell their stories, and their issues and their concerns,” Johnson said.

Celebrating women’s hard work and dedication, Johnson created the Lumine Lifetime Achievement Award. After two years of planning, the award ceremony was held for the first time in February.

“The whole point of this award is honoring the women who have made significant and sustained contributions in the industry,” Johnson said.

The first recipient, Sharron Miller, won for her outstanding work directing in television and film. One of the first female directors in Hollywood, Miller has received many awards including an Emmy award, a Peabody, and Directors Guild Award.

“She had to work alongside mostly men and prove herself in an industry that didn’t think women could really handle technical work,” Johnson said. “She had really laid the groundwork.”

Excited to continue giving the award, Johnson is already looking forward to next year's ceremony. Inspiring young women to have the confidence to share their voices and honoring those who paved the way for the future generations is what the Lumine Lifetime Achievement Award is all about.

“As far as I could find, there is no other university that is doing a media award for women,” Johnson said.

Hoping to continue inspiring younger women in the field, Johnson uses her position to encourage others to share their voices.

“I don’t see your generation being afraid of doing things,” Johnson said. “I think your generation is far more confident, and that’s because of all of the work that has been done by others to pave the way."

“I have a lot of optimism about your generation, because I see the passion and the enthusiasm to want to do big things, whether it’s journalism, CMP or any of our majors,” Johnson said. “Your generation is really going to push the bar even further past what has been done before.”

Kathy Johnson