October 28, 2020
Manship School of Mass Communication
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students of the Manship School:
Losing Dean Martin Johnson as a colleague, a friend and a supporter of the Society of Professional Journalists is a void that has touched many members of SPJ around the country, especially those of us in Louisiana.
As we send our condolences to the faculty, staff and students of the Manship School of Mass Communication, we want all of you to know how much Martin did for SPJ in Louisiana. It was with Martin’s help that the LSU SPJ student chapter was reactivated in 2019. His guidance and backing for the group helped the national organization decide to reinstate LSU SPJ.
In the fall of 2019 and into the spring of 2020, Martin worked closely with the Louisiana Professional Chapter to plan for a regional convention in Baton Rouge full of presentations which would have brought together hundreds of journalists from four states. Unfortunately, Covid-19 intervened and the convention could not go forward.
Above all, Martin’s direction as dean of the Manship School inspired all of us to hope that the work of journalists would continue into the next generation, even as the industry is surrounded by critics, naysayers and people who don’t want to be confronted with the truth.
We will miss Martin forever.
With Deepest Sympathy,
Sergy Odiduro, President
Dr. Robert Buckman, Vice President
Freda Yarbrough Dunne, Secretary
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Gregg Trusty, Treasurer
Courtney Jackson, (LSUS) Student Representative to the Board of Directors
Bossier City, Louisiana