Our new board member Janet Byron has a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley and years of experience as a reporter, writer, and editor. Could she have better qualifications to become the new editor of our monthly e-newsletter?
In fact, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
Janet also is an experienced BPWA walk leader and co-author, with Bob Johnson, of the popular guidebook Berkeley Walks. As if that weren’t enough, this will be her second stint with our newsletter. From 2000 to 2002, Janet edited the then one-page, front-and-back, 8½”x 14” quarterly.
You can see why were thrilled to have Janet back.
After she earned her journalism degree in 1991, she did a series of eclectic writing and editing jobs, among them reporting for the Oakland Tribuneand the El Cerrito Journal. She also freelanced for a variety of clients, ranging from the World Wildlife Fund to Food Chemical Newsand the Judicial Council of California.
In a surprising turn, she parlayed her love of road trips — and listening to country music on those jaunts — into a book: Country Music Lover’s Guide to the U.S.A.(St. Martin’s Press/Griffin, 1996). Fun fact: She’s actually been to all fifty states!
From 2001 to 2013, Janet worked for the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources as managing editor of the journalCalifornia Agriculture. For the last six years, she has been at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, where she has a wide range of communications responsibilities, including writing about medical science and health care research. She bikes to her job from her home on Alston Way.
When Janet is not in front of a monitor, she pursues her interests in improving the environment and making Berkeley’s streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians. She redoubled her efforts to protect cyclists after her then 14-year-old daughter Julia was injured last year by a hit-and-run driver while biking home from school.
In the late 1990s, Janet started Friends of Strawberry Creek to advocate for the creek that runs near her house. She also began leading nature walks for Greenbelt Allianceand served on its board for five years.
With Bob Johnson, she also led walks for Greenbelt’s Urban Outings program. “We designed our routes to showcase good urban development and walkability,” Janet explains. “Our walks in Berkeley were always really well-attended — better than the nature walks.”
Eventually, Bob suggested that they write a guide to walking in Berkeley. Four years of hard work later, they had Berkeley Walks, which has sold more than 3,000 copies and is now in its second edition.
“He did the legwork and plotted the walks, and I did the editing, fact checking, and some of the historical research and shepherded the book through the publishing process.”
Bob also introduced Janet to her husband of four months, Steve Price, whose interests — no surprise — closely parallel Janet’s. His firm, Urban Advantage, creates photo simulations to show how cities could become more sustainable and walkable.
So why is BPWA lucky enough to get Janet back?
“Julia’s older now, the book is done, and I’m ready to contribute again,” says Janet. “ I love the Path Wanderers and all the work they do!”