Meet the Media: Graham Johnson

For this week’s Meet the Media, we’d like you to meet Graham Johnson, a reporter at KIRO-TV Seattle.

Graham Johnson1. How did you find yourself at KIRO 7?

I joined KIRO in 2005 after working as a reporter/anchor in Medford, Oregon and Burlington, Vermont. My Northwest roots run deep. I grew up on Vashon Island, graduated from Pacific Lutheran University and was an intern at KING 5 and Northwest Cable News.

2. Which of your stories are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the stories that make people care about a person or subject they didn’t even consider before. I try to take complex concepts and make them compelling for a mass audience.

3. What is your favorite thing about your job?

I get paid to do two of my favorite things — writing and learning. Whenever I get to go somewhere new, meet someone new, or learn about something new, I feel so fortunate.

4. What is your interview style?

I try to ask direct questions that are short enough to use in a TV package. I’m looking to provoke an interesting answer that moves someone away from their talking points and gets to the heart of the story. If you’re a person in power, you should expect at least a couple of tough questions.

5. What do you look for in a story?

News that matters — hopefully on a subject not everyone else is covering. There are big problems out there that don’t get enough coverage, and there are also potential solutions I wish journalists explored more.

6. What is your day like at your job?

I bring ideas to our morning editorial meeting as we all pitch stories and talk over coverage decisions. If it’s a same-day story, I start emailing and calling people for interviews to see who’s immediately available. I work with one of our fabulous KIRO photographers to produce the piece and post on social media about the story. We usually do at least one live shot somewhere before heading home.

7. Who do you most look up to in the journalism industry?

I most admire the veteran reporters I’m fortunate to work with every day. I have incredible friends and colleagues at KIRO who have taught me so much. I think of Essex Porter, Deborah Horne, Amy Clancy and the late, great Chris Legeros.

8. What is your favorite news outlet?

I’m partial to KIRO, but also appreciate the excellent work of other local journalists. The actual print version of The Seattle Times still arrives at my door in the middle of the night with a thump and wakes up my dog, who has a great time letting me know all about it. I also try to keep track of what’s in The New York Times, The Guardian, LA Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. For big broadcasters, I like CBS, BBC and Al Jazeera. And public radio, nationally and locally, is big in my home.

9. Fill in the blank:

  • If I am not reporting, I am… spending time with my family, reading, traveling, sailing, skiing, rowing, gardening or generally being outside, especially on the water.
  • If I could interview anyone, it would be… someone whose voice needs to be heard. I’m not starstruck with celebrities and I already interview leaders in politics and business. It’s the struggles of everyday people here and around the world that deserve more coverage.
  • My favorite thing about Seattle is… it’s home. I feel lucky to live in this beautiful city and report on its evolution. The history of this place shows there’s always been change and turmoil, which makes for great stories, then and now.

10. What is your guilty pleasure? 

On days away, or while traveling, I increasingly appreciate unplugging from the news as much as possible and keeping my focus on what’s around me. I can’t say I feel guilty about this. Everyone needs balance in their lives.
Check out our last Meet the Media where we spotlighted Seth Everett, sports broadcaster and podcast host of “Sports with Friends” and “Hall of Justice”. 
Want to be featured in a Meet the Media? Email ofuller@feareygroup.com.