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NABJ Student Project Leader Fondly Remembered

Dedicated journalist, mentor Jon Beans, 50

By Jeannette Reyes
NABJ Monitor

Jon Beans, a veteran broadcaster and longtime NABJ member, was remembered by friends and coworkers this week as a respected, dedicated journalist and a good man.
Beans, 50, a public affairs director and former reporter and co-anchor for Alabama Public Television, died from complications of sickle cell anemia on June 13.

At this week’s NABJ convention, Beans was fondly remembered by friends and co-workers.

Michelle Johnson, a professor at Boston University, who worked for several years with Beans on NABJ’s student project, said she was saddened to hear about Beans’ death.

“He was such a good person,” she said. “To see somebody go through so much and to not make it  is very tough to take.”

Ken Smith, a former co-worker of Beans, said Beans was a dedicated person, role model and mentor. ”His attention to detail — that’s an attribute that every journalist needs.”

Smith said Beans was a respected journalist and his presence was still being felt here this week.

“Because we remember him, we remember how much we love him,” he said.

Friends said Beans was also a fun guy. As a member of NABJ, he mentored dozens of young journalists through the student projects.

Johnson said Beans’ team used to finish each convention week in an interesting, but memorable way.

“Every year, at the end of the project, the television team would get together and sing,” Johnson said. “They were just so happy. There would always be this at the end of the student project… that hasn’t happened since Jon was running the project.”

Johnson said Beans was a force to be reckoned with and he rarely had to raise his voice.

“He was a very quiet, soft-spoken, gentle kind of a guy but he always managed to inspire the group that worked with him,” she said.

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