Carol Ross Joynt is a Washington, DC based writer, interviewer, photographer and all-around expert on a lot that has to do with "This Town," the name of her daily blog. Fox News Sunday named Carol a Washington "power player." She is host of a popular local interview program, The Q&A Cafe, which she created in 2001 at the restaurant she owned, Nathans, and which moved to the Ritz Carlton Hotel after Nathans closed in 2009. It features an hour-long one-on-one interview with a notable person and is taped before an audience. It airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on DC channel 16.
Carol is also editor-at-large of Washingtonian magazine, where she writes about a range of DC-based subjects, including social life, sports, business, real estate, politics, and breaking news. That's her day job. At night she's often out on the town, tracking what's going on in the private parlors, grand ballrooms and exclusive enclaves of Washington.
While with CBS News she won a National Emmy Award for producing a prison interview with Charles Manson. Charlie Rose, with whom she worked for several years, was the interviewer.
Carol is the author of the memoir "Innocent Spouse," published in hard cover and paperback by Crown Publishers. "Innocent Spouse" was featured in Vogue, USA Today and on the Today show, as well as a variety of other print and broadcast media, and received overwhelmingly enthusiastic reviews. For example:
"Innocent Spouse reads like a novel, which is the highest compliment I can pay an actual memoir. A moving story of posthumous betrayal, and of survival." -Christopher Buckley
"When a husband dies suddenly he often leaves his widow holding the bag. The choice is to crumble or carry on. Carol Joynt not only carried on but she came through victorious."--Joan Rivers
"For those who ...wondered how a loving husband could possibly keep a secret life hidden from his family, wonder no more: Carol Joynt reveals in sad and searing detail how it can happen and the price she, as a wife, had to pay to save herself and her young son."--bestselling author Kitty Kelley
"A searing personal journey where the pages fall away from one’s hand like meat from a bone. Mrs. Joynt takes on her life with both a hatchet and a scalpel and is unafraid to turn an unerring spotlight on herself, examining the flaws and mistakes from every angle. Yet what emerges from this fascinating story is a courageous woman who is a survivor and above all else a mother who would do anything for her child."--bestselling author David Baldacci
Carol was born in Denver, grew up in Europe, Ohio, and on the East Coast, and lives in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington.
She skipped college and jumped right into national news, joining the staff of the Washington bureau of United Press International in January 1969, the same week Richard Nixon was inaugurated President for the first time. She started as a "dictationist," taking in breaking stories from Helen Thomas and Merriman Smith, but soon was reporting on the antiwar movement. Carol also covered political stories and the Apollo space program. In 1972, she was hired by Time magazine and moved to New York to write about politics and assorted features. She traveled on the McGovern campaign bus, reported from the presidential conventions in Miami, and covered the premiere of "The Godfather," among other assignments; Time offered that kind of diversity of stories.
Later in 1972, Walter Cronkite asked Carol to be one of his three writers on The CBS Evening News; she accepted without hesitation. She wrote script for the Evening News and special broadcasts for four years as Cronkite informed viewers about the death of LBJ, the Watergate scandal, the resignation of Richard Nixon, the kidnap of Patricia Hearst, and the end of the Vietnam war. Each year, Carol and her colleagues were awarded the Writer's Guild Award for best news script, and The CBS Evening News was commended on many fronts for its outstanding coverage of Watergate and Vietnam, including Emmys, the DuPont and Peabody awards, among other accolades.
After a year-off to crew on "Spartan," a 72-foot Herreshoff racing boat based in the West Indies, and to live in the south of France, Carol returned to Washington and network news and a succession of positions, which included producer 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 subjects ranging from national and global politics and the world's leaders to the latest successes or scandals involving the talented, the royal or the merely celebrated. At Nightwatch, Carol and host Charlie Rose won the 1987 National News Emmy Award for "Best Interview" for an hour CBS News broadcast interview with Charles Manson at San Quentin Prison.
Carol also directed documentary films and oversaw several film projects for clients such as the National Gallery of Art. She worked closely with museum Director J. Carter Brown as she directed a video retrospective of the NGA's 50th Anniversary, and a film tribute to the Kress family and their contribution to the Gallery's collections. In 1994 she directed a film for the American Academy in Rome, celebrating its 100th anniversary.
In 1997, when she was a producer for Larry King Live, her husband of twenty years, J. Howard Joynt III, died suddenly from pneumonia. Carol inherited Howard's landmark Georgetown restaurant, Nathans, where she created The Q&A Cafe, the only known "talk show in a saloon."
The Q&A Cafe launched in October 2001 as a response to the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Carol felt the community craved information and she sought to help fill that void by hosting weekly interviews with experts on subjects related to terrorism, the Middle East and South Asia. Over time, and with its growing popularity, The Q&A Cafe focused on other subjects as well - politics, medicine, science, the military, diplomacy, literature, the arts, sports, fashion, music and entertainment - and began broadcasting on youtube. Carol provides the show free of charge to local DC Cable. It airs Fridays at 8 p.m.
Carol closed Nathans on July 12, 2009, after the economy crashed and the building's landlords put the property up for sale. The Q&A Cafe moved to a new location, The Georgetown Ritz-Carlton Hotel, where it shot until 2012, when it moved to the Ritz-Carlton West End.
From 2007 until 2011 Carol wrote and took photographs for a weekly column about Washington that appeared on NYsocialdiary.com.
Her priorities have always been family and work, especially raising and making a home for her son, Spencer, who is a college junior in Texas. Once "Innocent Spouse" was finished, promoted and all touring done she focused on re-entering the work force. In October 2011 she joined the staff of Washingtonian.