March 27, 2017

Help ABH Reporter Joe Johnson Beat Cancer


Those of you who are regular readers of the local daily will recognize the name Joe Johnson. He's been the paper's ace crime reporter for about 15 years—the guy who not only writes those hilarious blotter items, but has covered dozens of murder trials, hung out with gang members when police denied Athens had gangs, exposed wrongdoing at the county jail and broke countless other big stories over the years.

The tough-as-nails New Yorker was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent surgery earlier this month. He doesn't know yet whether the tumor is malignant or what other treatments he may need, but they're bound to be expensive, and it's unlikely he'll be able to return to work full-time for a while.

Like other Morris employees, the corporate bean-counters cut Joe's salary and took away his overtime years ago during the recession. As a former Athens Banner-Herald reporter myself, I can tell you that the insurance there is not great, either.

Add to that some previous medical bills, and the Johnsons—he; his wife, Dawn, a nurse; and their 11-year-old daughter, Abigail—have already been forced to declare bankruptcy.

They've started a GoFundMe page and are seeking to raise $250,000. A lofty goal, yes, but think of all that Joe's done to inform the community, working long hours (and putting himself in dangerous situations) for little pay.