ABC News ‘Soul of a Nation’ co-executive producer Eric Johnson extols his experience of creative freedom at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).
Writing and producing at ABC News for over 14 years, New Jersey-born Johnson graduated from the leading public NJ college in 2004 as a Communication Studies major in the School of the Arts and Communication. “Comm studies gave me the creative freedom to feel confident in exploring possibilities after undergraduate school,” Johnson explains. “After graduating from TCNJ, I was a little lost. But in hindsight I’m so grateful for the flexibility my Communication degree has given me,” he adds.
One of Johnson’s mentors, Associate Professor of Journalism and Interactive Multimedia Kim Pearson, explains, “In his enduringly important book, The Miseducation of the Negro, Dr. Carter G. Woodson wrote of the need to ignite the “spark of genius” in every student. We who teach and study the art, science and technology of creative expression have a particular opportunity to help students find their voices and use them to benefit society in a number of ways. It is gratifying to know that Eric credits the work that my colleagues and I have done in the School of Arts and Communication with helping to lay the foundation for the consequential work he is doing. I’m also grateful that as an active alumnus, we benefit from his wise counsel as we adapt our courses and teaching methods to evolving industry and societal needs.”
TCNJ’s School of the Arts and Communication Dean Maurice Hall says, “Our school has forged a culture of creative freedom and we are delighted Eric Johnson is an exemplar of our nurturing engagement.”
Johnson, currently the Director and Executive Producer of Podcast Programming for ABC Audio, has collaborated on producing numerous ABC network news programs during his tenure, most notably ’20/20 ‘and ‘Nightline’. “I’ve had the opportunity to work on countless stories and projects from all over the world,” he says. “‘Soul of a Nation’ arguably had the most impact of any series I’ve worked on, and most of that work was done from my bedroom in my tiny New York City apartment.” In early March, ABC News launched the ground-breaking six-episode prime time series that focuses on the lived Black experience. The in-depth installments explore different themes, from the racial reckoning after George Floyd’s death to sports activism.
“While we all recognize the importance of celebrating Black History Month, we were excited to premiere ‘Soul of a Nation’ in March,” Johnson continues. “The narratives showcased in this program are not only Black stories, they are American stories.”
All six episodes of ‘Soul of a Nation’ are available on Hulu.
The School of the Arts and Communication is TCNJ’s interdisciplinary arts, performance, music, multimedia and communication studies branch. Proud to provide students with a top-tier liberal arts education, the School is an inclusive community of dedicated teaching professionals focused on preparing young minds to flourish as productive citizens in a complex world. Watch student films and music performances on ArtsComm DIGITAL, a brand-new digital platform by the School of the Arts and Communication.
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