Natalie Johnson, an accomplished journalist and Okanogan County native, joins the Methow Valley News staff this week as the newspaper’s Managing Editor.
Johnson was most recently Editor of The Chronicle, a three-times-weekly newspaper based in Centralia. At The Chronicle, she supervised reporters, freelancers and columnists, edited all copy, wrote editorials, columns and news articles, edited photos and designed all print products. She also oversaw the paper’s website and social media.
She had previously been a reporter at The Chronicle, and before that was a reporter at the weekly Mason County Journal.
Johnson is a 2006 graduate of Okanogan High School. She earned a bachelor of arts degree with a double major in sociology and comparative literature at the University of Washington in 2010. Her journalism career started with an internship at KOMO-TV in Seattle, where her grandfather Bryan Johnson was a longtime reporter. She also worked as a reporter at the UW Daily.
During her tenure as editor of The Chronicle, the paper won multiple C.B. Blethen Memorial Awards for Distinguished Newspaper Reporting from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association and recognition from the Society for Professional Journalists.
As a reporter, Johnson won five C.B. Blethen Awards for Distinguished Newspaper Reporting as an individual and as part of a newsroom team, including first place in the investigative journalism category for 2017 and 2018 and first place in deadline reporting in 2016.
Other honors include a Key Award from the Washington State Coalition for Open Government in 2017 for revealing Open Public Meetings Act violations in Lewis County government. She also won numerous awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.
Johnson said she is enthused about returning to her home turf. Her parents live in Okanogan, and her aunt and uncle, Chris and Kate Johnson, live in the Methow Valley. In her spare time, she has performed as a guitarist and vocalist in a band.
“We are pleased and fortunate to have Natalie join the newsroom in a leadership role,” Publisher/Editor Don Nelson said. “She brings experience, energy, personality and a fondness for the Methow Valley.”
Johnson’s duties will include editing, reporting and management of the newspaper’s website and social media initiatives.