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Have You Met?

Joanne Davidson, The Denver Post’s Society Editor, has raised the bar in her field. Not only is she a total professional in the world of journalism, being around Joanne is like being around a trusted friend. She’s easy-going, charming, intelligent, poised, polished, and grounded; and she has the confidence of someone who has truly come into her own.

Her vibrant personality reveals her “I love being alive and healthy, and I’m comfortable with who I am” self. Joanne is well aware that her role as the Society Editor for the Post involves representing the newspaper well. Joanne has ethics, integrity, and values – but her sparkly eyes also say: “I’m not opposed to being a free spirit and having some fun along the way!”

Joanne seems to have mastered the art of not letting life get too crazy for her. Anything stressful doesn’t stay in Joanne’s life long since she admits to practicing the old East – meets West - technique of creating tranquility by closing your eyes and imagining you are in a beautiful, peaceful, relaxing place. Just like her column - she just lets it flow!

Joanne possesses some of the qualities you might look for in a candidate who is running for a public office. Political life probably isn’t Joanne’s thing, but writing and mingling with people sure is. She loves what she does. With her radiant smile and warm spirit, people love to see Joanne attending a non-profit function. Guests are surely thinking, “Joanne Davidson is here, so it’s bound to be a great event!”

How did you get into journalism? Actually it was quite by accident. Up until my junior year in college, I though my interest was in Business. A computer error at the school put me in Advanced Journalist instead of Advanced Business. I knew from the minute I walked into the classroom that it’s what I would end up wanting to do.

What was your first official writing assignment? That would have been in high school. I did the Q & A column for the student newspaper. Weekly, I would go out with a photographer and we had the question of the week. We would go out and talk to five or six students with a very “pithy” question, and take their picture and run it in the paper. Then I moved on to feature writing for the school paper. A neighborhood paper close to school asked me to be the high school correspondent for the paper, so I did some embarrassingly bad articles for them. My first real job was with the Pittsburgh (California) Post Dispatch - 30 miles East of San Francisco - as the Education Writer.

How do you stay inspired to write when you just aren’t up to it at times? When I get writers block, I start writing from the bottom up just to get the brain going. Some things write themselves, others are more sensitive and complicated, so you just try to put every ounce of creativity you can into it.

How did the Post/News merger affect you? It was confusing for a lot of people. The merger just involved the business operations. The two newsrooms are entirely separate and totally competitive. I do get more mail late because it’s been sent over to the Rocky Mountain News first.

How do you stay so happy; you always have a smile on your face? If I didn’t have this job, I could really be a “basket case.” Everybody has bad days. Within the past year, my brother and my husband’s brother, both died within a month of each other. Bad things happen; you get depressed. I’m always in the presence of nice people in pleasant situations. This job is better than seeing a psychiatrist or using anti-depressants.

What’s the best advice you have for an inspiring young journalist? What steps do they take to get to where you are? First of all, learn how to spell, and just learn as much as you can about as many things as possible. Don’t be afraid to start small, like with a small paper; where you have to do everything – like take your own pictures, report on various different subjects, etc. Very rarely does someone come right out of school and start working for a big paper.

What in your life have you found particularly challenging? After the death of my brother, my only sibling, with both my parents gone, I felt like I was alone.

What is your advice for a happy marriage? Give and take; and Go with the flow.

Which one word describes you best? Misunderstood.

What one word would others use to describe you? Aloof.

If there were one thing you would change about yourself, what would it be? To open up more around people – let my guard down.

If your life were a movie, what actress would play you? Pamela Anderson. I’ve always wanted to be busty and blonde.

What is your pet peeve? Narrow-minded people.

What are your hobbies or other interests? Animal welfare, reading, travel, cooking, - and food – in my next life, I’m going to be a Food Editor.

Who is the most interesting celebrity you have every met? Lawrence Welk; he was the nicest, most gracious person. He was in California for a benefit, and I interviewed him. From that point until he died, he sent me a tin of caramel popcorn every year, because during the interview at the hotel, there was a bowl of caramel popcorn sitting there, and I remarked how much I loved caramel popcorn - and he remembered that.

What would you do if you were Queen of the world? Pass a law that there would never be another war – no more fighting anywhere!

What is your most treasured possession? Good health.

What is your greatest extravagance? My red Saab convertible.

What is your personal motto – or favorite quote? “I’m so happy to be alive!”

What three things are always in your refrigerator? Caffeine free diet Coke, sesame seed bagels and carrots.

Where would we find you on one of your days off? Cherry Creek Shopping Center, Salli’s Skin Care or curled up in front of the TV.

What is your favorite TV show? Desperate Housewives!

What is your favorite place in your home? The sunroom.

What social or charitable event is your favorite? I take the 5th on this one!

Who is your hero, and why? People like Noel Cunningham who give and give and cannot give enough of themselves, of their money, of their talent ------- and Warren Zevon!

Who is your mentor? My husband. John has very patiently been there, and gone through many experiences with me - step by step - and helped to make them better.

When you were a little girl, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? At age five, I wanted to be a nurse. My grandmother was a nurse, and she gave me one of her old uniforms and hat to wear. I had her real stethoscope, and – then I decided I couldn’t stand the sight of blood.

What is a moment in your life you will never forget? When my mother called to say that my father had been killed in an automobile accident. I was 19 at the time.

What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty and Discretion.

What is one thing no one knows about you? How shy I am.

What do you like most about yourself? Open-mindedness.

What do you like least about yourself? The fact that “what you see is what you get;” I wish I could be more mysterious.

What makes you laugh? Movies that no one else might think are funny. My husband makes me swear I won’t tell anyone we watch movies like: “Dude Where’s my Car?” or “Soul Plane” – totally politically incorrect – but we laugh so hard!

What makes you cry? Seeing an animal being abused.

What do you consider your proudest achievement? Being able to have survived so long in a competitive profession.

What is the best advice your Mom/Dad ever gave you? The golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would it be? I’ve made many mistakes, but I wouldn’t do it over again. You can’t do everything right all the time. I’ve learned a valuable lesson from each mistake.

Aside from your family, what do you love the most? Chocolate.

What is your current state of mind? Content - happy in my own skin.

What’s in the future for Joanne Davidson? To be as happy and healthy - by the grace of God - as I am right now.

Is there somewhere other than Denver you would like to live? No.

What is something you would still like to learn how to do? Sing.

Who is the real Joanne Davidson? A fun loving slob, who has music in her soul.

What might your epitaph read or what would you like to be remembered for? Her curiosity never ended; and she really tried to be kind to everyone.

Joanne's Awards and Recognitions: 1st place for News-writing/Photo-story Combination and Women’s Interest Reporting Award from the Contra Costa Press Club; Best Lifestyle Section Award from the California Association of Newspaper Publishers. Women of Distinction 1999, Girl Scouts – Mile Hi Council; Pulse Award from the Heart Association; The Hannah G. Solomon Award from the National Council of Jewish Women; the Triumph Award from then Rocky Mountain Stroke Association; the Public Service Award from the National Kidney Association; The Service to Community Award from the Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth; The Newsperson of the Year Award from the Kempe Children’s Foundation; the Stu Kassan Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Lupus Foundation; and the News Media Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Joanne, I can't remember when I've enjoyed reading an interview as much as yours. Your honesty is so refreshing. Keep smiling!
Carol Downs
26-Apr-05


Hi Joanne, I am so very pleased that you agreed to be included in Blacktie's 'Have You Met.' I find that we think very much alike and care about many of the same things in this world. My best wishes to you and John in all that you choose to do. You are the best!! Thank you, Georgia Imhoff
Georgia Imhoff
20-Apr-05


Thanks for being your REAL self in an UNREAL world and congratulations. Kathy Fontera
Kathy Fontera
20-Apr-05


Thank you for your guidance, sense of humor and support!
Elizabeth Byrnes Crony
19-Apr-05