Robert Johnson, co-publisher of The Charlotte Post, dies

Charlotte media icon Robert “Bob” Johnson, the co-publisher of The Charlotte Post, died Wednesday at 84 years old.

Johnson graduated from West Charlotte High School in 1957, going on to earn a degree in psychology at Johnson C. Smith University before his family took over the newspaper in 1974.

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The Charlotte Post is the city’s oldest African American newspaper and dates back to the late 1800s. On Thursday, Channel 9′s Evan Donovan spoke with Herb White, its editor-in-chief. He’s a longtime friend of Johnson’s and reflected on his life and legacy.

“Bob was the kind of person — no matter what your day was looking like, he was the one who could put some light on it,” White said.

White worked with Johnson for 37 years.

“Over the years, though, I look back at it now and sure, I worked with Bob, I worked for Bob, but mostly Bob was my friend,” he said. “And then he became family, even though we’re not related.”

He was that way with everybody who ever worked at the Post, and with the community as a whole.

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Bob and his brother Gerald took over from their father in 1986 as publishers of the Charlotte Post. White spoke about how it’s a voice for the Black community.

“That’s always been our strength,” he said. “We tell stories about people in the community who may not otherwise get their stories told. And he was the ultimate ambassador for that type of journalism.”

Several of the Post’s alumni have gone on to big publications like the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune.

One former reporter, Axios Charlotte’s Ashley Mahoney, called Johnson “the kindest human and a wonderful boss.”

“Obviously it’s a very sad time for all of us,” White said. “And personally, I’m really sad that Bob has transitioned. But I think it’s been a full life.”

Family information and funeral arrangements for Bob Johnson have not been announced yet.

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