Decided she wanted to be a journalist when she was 8 years old and began researching journalism schools in the World Book Encyclopedia when she was 13. She settled on the University of Missouri, and she earned a bachelor of journalism degree from there in 1984.
Her reporting career followed the usual progression – working her way up, beat by beat, to larger newspapers. She started as a general assignment reporter at the Irving (Texas) Daily News and became the paper’s city editor a year later, at age 23. From there, she worked as a reporter and editor at The Stuart (Fla.) News and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va.
While in Norfolk, she became part of the paper’s leadership team determined to change the newsroom culture to meet the coming changes in how people used media. It was 1993, but that team was working to build a newsroom focused on community connection – social media before media was social.
In 1994, Janet became managing editor of The Wichita Eagle, a pioneering newsroom in the civic journalism movement. She moved to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune as managing editor in 1997. Two years later, she became that paper’s executive editor, directing a converged newsroom of 200 journalists working across print, television and online platforms.
After a brief stint as dean of the faculty at The Poynter Institute in 2003, Janet took on the task of leading the full integration of the print, online and television newsrooms at The News Center in Tampa. By the end of her tenure in Tampa, she had led the conversion of three separate newsrooms into one 24-hour local news operation.
Janet has served five times as a Pulitzer Prize juror, chairing the Public Service jury in 2006 and the Investigative Reporting jury in 2007. She served on the board of the American Society of News Editors for six years, chairing the ASNE convention twice.