Remembering Brenda Box, former WV Public Radio reporter
March 7, 2013 ·
Brenda Box, a former reporter at West Virginia Public Radio and an editor for NPR's Newscast division, has died after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 58. NPR Newscast executive producer Robert Garcia writes this appreciation...
Anyone who ever
worked with Brenda knows what a special and unique person she was:
equal parts cynical and sensitive, outspoken and hilarious, brilliant
and fun, and warm and self-deprecating.
Kahn, who largely dealt with Brenda on the phone, but grew close to her
anyway, put it this way in a recent note to Newscast staff:
"Every time I
called Newscast and she answered the phone, no matter how stressed or
busy she was she always had a few moments for a quick chat, great banter
and that memorable laugh. Not that filing spots is not fun enough, but
Brenda made it something special, personal and among friends."
Korva Coleman has a further explanation of Brenda's role in the unit:
"Although you never heard her name on an NPR broadcast, she shaped what
you heard. While you never heard her speak to you on the radio, she
guided your understanding of events. Brenda Box was the editor that
every journalist dreams of, one who elicits the best from reporters and
quietly removes the errors. ... Brenda often concluded her conversations
with her trademark, 'cool beans.' That was the indication that her
exacting eye had reviewed the reporter's work and approved."
is no justice served remembering Brenda only in the context of her
health issues in recent years. But it must be said that in this
particular respect, she taught us all the true meaning of gentle grace
under great adversity.
Brenda graduated with a journalism degree from Colorado State University, worked as a Capitol Hill correspondent for USA Today
Broadcasting/Gannett News Service, as an anchor for the UPI and
NBC/Mutual radio networks, and as a reporter for West Virginia Public
Radio and WTOP Radio before coming to NPR 10 years ago. Outside of
broadcasting she worked for the Wilderness Society and the National
Wildlife Federation, and she served as press secretary for the District
of Columbia's City Administrator.
She was a long-time member of
the National Association of Black Journalists, winning an NABJ
Excellence Award for a series on Black Pioneers. The Gannett News
Service honored her work for radio coverage of the 20th anniversary of
the civil rights march on Washington.
Brenda is survived by her husband, Steve Johnson; her daughters, Chantel and Chanel; and her son, Anthony.