Johnson spent most of her 30-year-career at The Associated Press, where she oversaw the wire service’s coverage of the federal government, elections and politics as Washington bureau chief from 1998 to 2008. Under her stewardship, the 120-person Washington bureau won numerous journalism awards for its investigative and political coverage, and stood apart on election night 2000 when Johnson refused to call the winner of the presidential race while the outstanding votes were in question and could tip the presidency either way. As a result, AP was the lone major news outlet in the exit-poll consortium that did not have to reverse its election call. Johnson was subsequently recognized as a Pulitzer finalist for her courage in resisting the pressure to follow the media pack. In 2009-10, she designed and implemented state news content for 28 million readers of the AARP Bulletin.