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Johnson honored by the IHSBCA

Messenger's Assistant Sports Editor garners Media Award

For over two decades, Chris Johnson has faithfully served area readers from both the press box and behind the scenes as Assistant Sports Editor of The Messenger in Fort Dodge.

Johnson was recently named a 2021 Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association Media Award recipient for his long-time contributions to the sport and its student-athletes.

“Chris Johnson has been a true pleasure to work with,” St. Edmond baseball coach Mike Szalat said. “He asks insightful questions that always put a positive light on the participants’ performance. Not only is he accurate in publishing my quotes — he’s very good at making the article about the athletes. He’ll even interview them to get their perspective.

“I don’t just see Chris as one of the journalists who cover St. Edmond athletics. I consider him a friend. I want to congratulate him on an award that is 100 percent deserved.”

The 44-year-old Johnson, a graduate of both Fort Dodge Senior High and Iowa Central Community College, was first hired as a part-time staff member by Messenger Sports Editor Bill McIntyre in 1999. He moved to full-time in 2000, and accepted the Assistant Sports Editor position in 2001.

“You are being honored by the association for the endless contributions you’ve made for Iowa high school baseball,” Lee Toole, executive director of the IHSBCA, said to Johnson in a statement. “Your selection as recipient of the Media Award is a very well-deserved honor. One to be proud of.”

Both Johnson and The Messenger sports staff have been honored numerous times during his tenure. Most recently, the department was named the state’s Best Sports Section in Daily Class I at the 2021 Iowa Newspaper Association awards banquet.

“Chris’s contribution to The Messenger and our local athletes is very commendable,” Fort Dodge baseball coach Blake Utley said. “We are extremely lucky to have both Chris and The Messenger in Fort Dodge. I’m not sure there is a community in our state that receives as much positive coverage as our athletes at Fort Dodge Senior High and the surrounding areas.

“Thanks for all that you do, Chris.”

Johnson and his wife, Tabitha, have three children: Lilly, a ninth-grader at FDSH; and twins Ella and Eli, sixth graders at the Fort Dodge Middle School.

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