GBH News’ Digital Driver Pam Johnston Resigns As GM


GBH News General Manager Pam Johnston is resigning from the public broadcaster effective May 31. Johnston, who took the helm of the Boston NPR affiliate in 2020 mid-pandemic, has faced challenges over newsroom culture since the beginning of the year.

Johnston joined GBH in 2012 as Frontline’s first director of audience development, focusing on content distribution across multiple platforms and audience growth.

Senior Director of Special Editorial Projects Debra Adams Simmons will temporarily take over Johnston’s role until a permanent replacement is found. Simmons, who joined the company in March, previously worked with GBH CEO Susan Goldberg at National Geographic.

Sparked by allegations of bullying and intimidation reported in the Boston Globe, Johnston committed to improve the newsroom environment despite no findings against the editor involved.

Pam Johnston navigated GBH through several financial obstacles, securing a $5 million gift from The Fiducia Fund and a $750,000 grant from the Barr Foundation for the newsroom’s equity and justice unit. Despite these efforts, GBH shares ongoing revenue challenges with public media outlets across the country, including Boston’s other public media station, WBUR.

In an internal statement, Johnston said, “I have decided the time is right for me to step aside to make room for a new leader to guide the next chapter at GBH News.” She added, “Digital is now a key part of our success. We have become industry leaders in podcasting and digital video storytelling. Our YouTube channel is one of the most successful in all of public radio.”

Johnston’s strong digital push allegedly created tension of its own, with GBH employees previously stating that her intense focus on digital platforms has detracted from the station’s radio and TV programming. They reportedly recall her frequently stating, “TV and radio are dead.”

GBH President and CEO Susan Goldberg, along with COO Shane Miner, commented, “Pam is well-versed in modern audience metrics and a champion for digital innovation, pushing to expand how we deliver news and information to audiences where they are — and that’s increasingly on digital and streaming platforms. Our overall audience reach has doubled in the last five years because of this digital growth.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here