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Former WUSA Washington Anchor Bruce Johnson Dead at 71

Bruce Johnson
Bruce Johnson (Image credit: WUSA-TV)

Bruce Johnson, 71, a news anchor and reporter at WUSA Washington for more than four decades, died of a heart attack April 3 at a Delaware hospital, according to the station.

“Tonight we are mourning the loss of Bruce Johnson, legendary reporter, anchor, storyteller, humanitarian, colleague, mentor and friend,” the station tweeted Sunday. “Our hearts are with his family, and we ask that their privacy be respected in this difficult time.”

After starting his broadcast career at WCPO Cincinnati (he had a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Cincinnati) Johnson joined WUSA in March 1976 and remained there until his retirement at the end of 2020.

Johnson, who had hung out his communications consultant shingle under The Bruce Johnson Group LLC following retirement, had suffered a heart attack in 1992 while on assignment and wrote a book about his recovery, Heart to Heart.

Johnson's third book was the just-released Surviving Deep Waters subtitled, “A legendary reporter’s story of overcoming poverty, race, violence and his mother’s deepest secret.” Johnson had been scheduled for a book signing at the Martin Luther King Library in Washington Tuesday, April 5.

Johnson was a member of the National Press Club and the National Association of Black Journalists and the winner of 22 local Emmys. He was also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Hall of Fame.

Johnson is survived by his wife, Lori, three children and four grandchildren. ■

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.