The Guardian's top boss relishes newspaper industry

Published on January 14, 2016

TC Media, the owner of The Guardian, recently promoted Nancy Johnson to director of operations for the Maritimes. She is in charge of five dailies, including The Guardian and the Jounal Pioneer, as well as 12 weeklies.

©HEATHER TAWEEL/THE GUARDIAN

Nancy Johnson, the new top boss at The Guardian, simply stumbled into the newspaper business.

In 1995, as a single mother of two, Johnson started an impressive climb up the ranks after landing work as a receptionist at the Vulcan Advocate, a small community newspaper in southern Alberta.

She blazed a path to publisher first working as accountant and later as business manager. She also sold advertising on her way up the ladder.

She was senior group publisher for a dozen of Sun Media’s newspapers for six years before joining TC Media in 2014 as director of operations in Saskatchewan.

On Dec. 1, she took over as TC Media’s director of operations for the Maritimes.

Replacing Don Brander, who retired in late November after 44 years in the industry, Johnson will be overseeing 12 weeklies and five dailies, including The Guardian and the Summerside-based Journal Pioneer.

Johnson, 55, has been at the helm of many newspapers during a rocky period for the media industry but has not been fazed by all the challenges.

“I fell in love with it instantaneously,’’ she says of her introduction to the business more than 20 years ago.

“I quickly became addicted to the pace, the chaos. To me, it’s exhilarating.’’

Based in Sydney, N.S., Johnson plans to spend about one week a month working in P.E.I.

She sees a strong future for The Guardian, noting more people are reading this paper today either in print or online than five years ago.

And while she notes the newspaper industry is evolving, no major changes are planned for The Guardian.

“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,’’ she says.

“We look forward to serving this great community for years and years and years to come.’’

“I fell in love with it instantaneously,’’ she says of her introduction to the business more than 20 years ago. “I quickly became addicted to the pace, the chaos. To me, it’s exhilarating.’’ Nancy Johnson, TC Media director of operations for the Maritimes

At a glance

Name: Nancy Johnson.

Hometown: Carmangay, Alta.

Family: Two children: Alex, 26, and Lucas, 22, both living in Calgary, Alta.

Nickname: Gidget.

First job: Graveyard shifts as a waitress at a 24-hour coffee joint in Calgary. I was 15.

Leisure time: I don’t do idle well and love to keep active. My favourite things are music, photography, walking, gardening, billiards, water sports and travel.

Trait in people you most admire: Honesty, without a doubt.

Favourite motto or saying: Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t — you’re right.

Favourite place to travel: I am in love with a little village in southern Italy, Praiano, and travel there twice a year.