Space: A Journalist’s Notebook,” gives one writer’s take on the phenomenon of flying saucers.
Written by retired CSUN journalism professor DeWayne “Doc” Johnson, the book was released several weeks ago, and is actually two books in one.
The first part, “Space for Speculation,” deals with the mindset of people living on Earth and what the human mind is willing to believe, Johnson said.
“We’ve learned a great deal about how to get from here to there, but we don’t know as much as we need to know to do it,” Johnson said.
He said our bodies are far from having the ability to propel our beings to the far reaches of space. With the bodies we have, Johnson said, we are not well prepared to shield ourselves from being bombarded by damaging rays in outer space.
“We don’t know how to go beyond this solar system,” Johnson said.
The second part of the book, “Flying Saucers: Fact or Fiction?” was Johnson’s thesis for his master’s degree while he was at UCLA in 1950.
In this part of the book, Johnson concludes that flying saucers are in fact real. Although we have no real notion of what they really are, he said they do exist.
According to Johnson, the government offered all sorts of theories as to what UFOs were, but they lied, did not know or did not say what they knew.
Johnson’s thesis was stolen, published and distributed without him having any knowledge of it. It wasn’t until 1999 that he discovered there was a book with his name on it as co-author, but bearing a different title.
Johnson was never contacted for approval, nor was he initially paid for any of his work.
“They recognized a fine bit of research,” Johnson joked about those who took his work.
Johnson began working at CSUN in 1961 and retired in 1984.
During his years at CSUN, Johnson was a journalism professor who taught copy editing, photojournalism and investigative reporting. Johnson became president of the Faculty Senate three times, and held a desk editor position at the Los Angeles Times.
He said working was a good experience because he was able to share information with his students about how journalism worked in the real world.
Johnson said he has many memories from CSUN that stand out in his mind.
He said he remembers one time when he was coming out of Sierra Hall — the then-home of the Daily Sundial — and a student stopped him and asked if he had heard that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.
He said he did what any journalist would do — he drove to the L.A. Times headquarters, despite it being his day off, and worked.
Johnson also said he remembers the day he saw the names of three CSUN graduates in bylines on the front of the L.A. Times.
“Boy, we must have been doing something right to have this impact on journalism,” he said. Johnson said there were many occasions while working at the L.A. Times in which he was paired up with someone from CSUN.
Although Johnson said he has no plans to write more on the subjects discussed in “Space,” he has started a book about American generals that he has met throughout his life, including former president Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“I’m 85 years old now and not planning to quit anytime soon,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s “Space: A Journalist’s Notebook” was published by the New World African Press, whose CEO and editor in chief is CSUN Pan African Studies Professor Joseph Holloway. More information can be found at www.newworldafricanpress.com.