2007 Alumni Hall of Fame Honoree

Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper publisher John Dotson, Jr. is a racial pionier in the media.


During his prestigious career, he became the first African-American correspondent and senior editor for Newsweek. Later, he served as Knight Ridder’s first African-American publisher when he was appointed to run Boulder’s Daily Camera. Under his leadership, The Akron Beacon Journal won a Pulitzer Gold Medal for Meritorious Public Service for its series on race relations and the launch of Coming Together, a community organization whose mission is to foster better racial relations in Akron.


In addition to these accomplishments, Dotson was presented the president’s award from the National Association of Black Journalists in 1993 and was recently inducted into its Hall of Fame for his exemplary journalistic career. In 1997, he was awarded the distinguished diversity award for lifetime achievement by the National Association of Minority Media Executives.


Dotson began his career at Newsweek in the late 1960s, working his way up to the position of senior editor during his 17-year run at the magazine. In 1983, he joined PNI, where he hed posts as Los Angeles bureau chief and senior editor/news editor in New York. He also worked at the Newark Evening News and Detroit Free Press. He then moved to posts at The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc., before serving five years as president and publisher of the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colorado.


Most recently, Dotson worked for nine years as president and publisher at The Akron Beacon Journal. In 1995, he won the John S. Knight Gold Medal, Knight Ridder’s highest award for overall achievement, recognizing his efforts in winning the Pulitzer Gold Medal and leading the Beacon Journal to record earnings. He was named publisher emeritus at the paper after his retirement in July 2001.


During his career, Dotson has served on numerous boards of directors. Currently, he is a member of the Board of Directors of The Washington Post Company and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Journalism Advisory Committee.


Dotson is also a founder and former chair of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, an organization devoted to the training of journalists to work in a multicultural environment.


In addition to his 1958 Bachelor’s degree from Temple, Dotson received an honorary doctorate from the University in 1981. In 1995, he completed the Stanford Executive Program at Stanford University.


He and his wife, Peggy, have three children and seven grandchildren.