Janis Heaphy Durham was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1951 to a Presbyterian minister and his wife. The family moved to Ohio a few years later where she spent her childhood. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and taught junior high school English following graduation.
Several years later, she moved west to Los Angeles in pursuit of a less conventional life. Feeling a deep-seated pull to newspapers, Janis applied for a job at the Los Angeles Times and was hired in the advertising department. During her 15 years there, she rose to senior vice president of advertising. In 1998 she was recruited by a headhunter in a nationwide search and named the first publisher in the history of the fabled Sacramento Bee, the flagship newspaper of the McClatchy Company. Responsible for all facets of the newspaper, including news and business operations, she was at the helm for a decade.
During her tenure the Bee won two of the five Pulitzer Prizes awarded since it was founded in 1857. Janis retired in 2008 and lives between Idaho and Florida with her husband, Jim Durham. Together they enjoy spending time with their three sons who live on the West Coast.