Carol Joynt

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Carol Ross Joynt, author of the 2011 memoir "Innocent Spouse," published by Crown, first excerpted in Vogue, also hosts her own long-form interview program, The Q&A Cafe, now in its 15th year, and is a full-time booking producer for "Meet The Press Daily with Chuck Todd" at MSNBC in Washington. Over the course of her broadcast career she was a writer for Walter Cronkite for four years, and a producer for Charlie Rose, David Brinkley, Ted Koppel, and Larry King, and for its brief two years on the air she was with "USA Today: The TV Show" as Washington Bureau Chief and "Life" section producer.

Prior to joining MTPD she was at "Hardball with Chris Matthews" for a year, spanning the 2016 Presidential campaign season, primaries, debates, election and inauguration. Immediately before joining MSNBC, Joynt worked in the magazine business. She was with Foreign Policy as Vice President of Communications and supervised staff media training and the launch of FP Podcasts. She came to FP from Washingtonian, where she was Editor-at-Large from October 2011 to October 2014. She wrote several hundred articles, including the monthly "Behind The Scenes" feature, and dozens of her photos were published in the magazine. From 2007 to 2016 she also wrote a weekly column about Washington power, money and social life for the New York Social Diary.


While a writer for Walter Cronkite at The CBS Evening News, she won the Writer's Guild Award for "Best News Script" three times for broadcasts pertaining to Watergate and the Vietnam War, an honor shared with her writing colleagues Charles L. West and Sandor M. Polster. The broadcast as a whole won numerous awards for its Watergate coverage, including the Peabody and Dupont. While a producer for the CBS News "Nightwatch" broadcast, Carol Joynt and host Charlie Rose won the national Emmy Award for "Best Interview" for a one-hour prison interview with Charles Manson, which aired 1987.

Nathans and "Innocent Spouse"[edit]

Carol Joynt's memoir, "Innocent Spouse" chronicles the 12 years she owned and operated Nathans, a popular, even legendary, Georgetown watering hole. Located at the corner of Wisconsin and M Streets, it was founded by her husband, John Howard Joynt III, in 1969. Carol and Howard met in May 1977 and married soon after. Their son, Spencer Ross Joynt, was born in 1991. When Howard died suddenly from pneumonia in February 1997, Carol was in her fourth year as a producer for Larry King on CNN's "Larry King Live." She set aside her career to oversee the bar, which came with a surprise multimillion-dollar criminal tax fraud case, a constant risk of bankruptcy and a myriad of other harrowing business calamities. Due to the legal mess and a complicated lease she could not sell the bar and had to run it, even though she had no prior restaurant experience. After a more than year-long legal battle, the IRS absolved Carol of any responsibility for the tax fraud, and awarded her "innocent spouse" status. Carol closed Nathans in 2009 and returned to her career in journalism. The Nathans building was sold by its owners to the corporation that includes Under Armour and a mixed-use development was planned to open in 2017.

Carol Joynt's struggle owning Nathans, while also trying to hold on to her television career and raise her son, Spencer, are the threads that run through Innocent Spouse, (Crown Publishers, 2011).[1] Vogue bought exclusive first rights to the book and it was launched with an exclusive "Today" show interview, and a book tour.

The Q&A Cafe[edit]

The Q&A Café,[2] was created by Carol Joynt at Nathans in October 2001 in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The first "talk show in a bar," at the outset the program focused on interviews related to 9/11, terrorism, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Washington, D.C. Over the years it evolved to feature a range of interviews with notables and newsmakers from all fields. Carol called upon her extensive background producing talk shows for Charlie Rose, David Brinkley, Ted Koppel, Larry King, to create The Q&A Café and turn it into a local cable TV show on both the DC Cable Channel and NewsChannel 8. The many notable individuals who appeared for interviews, in a list of more than 400, include Theodore Sorensen, FedEx Founder Fred Smith, Erica Jong, the cast of "This Is Spinal Tap," Harry Shearer, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest; Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn and their son Quinn Bradlee; Tim Russert, Julia Reed, Tom Brokaw, Letitia Baldridge, Cokie Roberts, Dan Rather, Gwen Ifill, Tina Brown, Chuck Todd, Jane Lynch, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Valerie Plame, "DC Madame" Deborah Jeanne Palfrey, Andrea Mitchell, Carole Radziwill, Tareq and Michaela Salahi, David Rubenstein, John Riggins, Robert Novak, Art Buchwald, Dan Snyder, George Stephanopoulos, Chris Matthews, Daniel Boulud, Arianna Huffington, David Brooks, Oliver Stone, C.Z Guest, Christopher Hitchens, Susan Isaacs, Sen. Mark Warner, Sen. Fred Thompson, Walter Isaacson, Jack Valenti, Bob Balaban, Bob Schieffer, Sally Bedell Smith, Bob Colcacello, Vernon Jordan, Kitty Kelley, David Baldacci, Carli Fiorina, Hugh Newell Jacobsen, Ted Leonsis, Jonathan Capehart, Christopher Lawford, J. Willard Marriott, Diane Rehm, Bob Woodward, Patrick O'Connell, Shane Harris, Derek Brown, Andrew Sullivan, DC Mayors Marion Barry, Anthony Williams, Adrian Fenty, Vincent Gray and Muriel Bowser; DC Police Chiefs Cathy Lanier and Peter Newsham; Mark Halperin and John Helieman, David Gregory, Mark Shields, Phillipe Cousteau, Robin Givhan, Helen Thomas, Adel Al Jubeir, Tucker Carlson, and Maury Povich and Connie Chung. All the interviews are on YouTube.

Getting Started[edit]

Carol Ross began her career in national news in 1969, when Richard Nixon was inaugurated President for the first time. An early college stop out, at 18 she joined the staff of the Washington bureau of United Press International, taking dictation from Helen Thomas and Merriman Smith and learning how to be a reporter. Her beat was the antiwar movement, which included covering violent anti-war protests in the streets of Washington. She also covered the trial of H. Rap Brown, a variety of political stories and the Apollo space program. After three years in Washington, she was hired by TIME Magazine and moved to New York City to write about politics and features; assignments that included presidential conventions, traveling on the McGovern campaign bus, movie premieres, war protests, an expose about teenage runaways, Elvis Presley's return concert and a brush with the Rolling Stones.

In 1972 Walter Cronkite asked Joynt to be one of his three writers on the CBS Evening News, where she sat by his side for four years as Cronkite informed viewers about the death of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Watergate scandal, the resignation of Richard Nixon, the kidnap of Patricia Hearst, and the end of the Vietnam war. The CBS Evening News was the most highly rated nightly news broadcast of that era.

From CBS News, Carol Joynt took a year off to explore. She traveled across the U.S., and France, and for 7 months lived in the West Indies, crewing as deckhand and cook on "Spartan", a classic Herreshoff New York 50 sailing yacht. When the year was up, Joynt returned to New York, and then Washington, and network news and a succession of positions, which included producing roles at NBC News, CBS News Nightwatch, USA Today the TV Show, This Week with David Brinkley, Nightline, Larry King Live, John Hockenberry, and Hardball with Chris Matthews. For these broadcasts she focused on breaking news and subjects ranging from global politics and the world's leaders to the latest successes or scandals involving the talented, the royal, the celebrated and the infamous.

Film Work[edit]

Joynt directed documentary films and oversaw several other film projects for the National Gallery of Art, working directly with J. Carter Brown. The projects included a retrospective of the NGA's 50th anniversary, and a tribute to the Kress family and their contribution to the Gallery's collections. In 1994 she made a film for the American Academy in Rome, celebrating its 100th anniversary, narrated by Isabella Rosselini.

In February 2011, Carol was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.[2]


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