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Gorman to retire as managing editor of WDT

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Robert D. Gorman, managing editor of the Watertown Daily Times, has announced his retirement, effective June 14.

Mr. Gorman, 62, a native of Detroit, Mich., began his professional career at the Georgetown (S.C.) Times in 1974. After 20 years as a reporter and editor at South Carolina newspapers, he was named assistant managing editor-news for the Watertown Daily Times in 1994 and managing editor in 2001.

Mr. Gorman has won several journalism awards and was named Journalist of the Year in South Carolina in 1979, in part for a series of stories he wrote on welfare fraud. Since Mr. Gorman arrived in 1994, the Times has won numerous state Associated Press awards and recently was named a finalist for the national Mirror Awards, which will be announced June 5 in New York City.

He was on the board of directors of the New York chapters of the Associated Press and was elected president in 2001.

On July 1, Mr. Gorman will become chief executive officer of the United Way of Northern New York, replacing Jayn M. Graves, who is retiring in June.

“I wasn’t ready to retire as a journalist, but I have had some changes in my personal life that require me to have a more fixed work schedule,” Mr. Gorman said. “I appreciate the faith the board of United Way is placing in me. The name Jayn Graves has been synonymous with United Way for decades, so replacing her will be a challenge. Fortunately, we will have some transition time and she has graciously offered to continue helping the organization with advice.”

Mr. Gorman said he became a supporter of United Way more than 30 years ago.

“I made my first donation to United Way in 1982 when I created a fundraising video for a chapter in South Carolina. So it is an agency I have supported for a long time.”

United Way Board President Jane V. Schmitt said Mr. Gorman was “the unanimous choice of the board.”

“He has some new and innovative ideas for development as well as an understanding of the importance and value of our current donor base,” she said in a news release. “We couldn’t ask for a better fit. His business acumen and commitment to the community are important assets.”

Mr. Gorman has served on a number of nonprofit boards in Jefferson County and is the president of the Thompson Park Conservancy. He also was a founding board member of the Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College, and led the effort to create the Hall of Achievement in the Watertown City School District. He also was on the formation committee for the website Drumcountry.com, and coined the phrase “The warmest place you’ll ever live.”

He recently was honored by the American Red Cross for donating more than 11 gallons of blood since the early 1970s. As a member of First Presbyterian Church, 403 Washington St., he has been involved in the development of church and school projects in Mzuzu, Malawi.

Mr. Gorman’s wife, Patricia “Bunny,” is a teacher at Indian River High School in Philadelphia. They have two sons; Sean M. is a teacher at Carthage High School, and Matthew W. is employed by the Children’s Home of Jefferson County.

The following statement is from John B. Johnson, Jr., editor and publisher of the Times:

“Bob Gorman came to the Watertown Daily Times in the spring of 1994. The newspaper has not been the same since.

Bob brought his family to Watertown from South Carolina and from the first days of their time here they have made a difference in the community.

Professionally Bob spent many hours hiring the best people he could find to become reporters for The Times. His hires have gone on to distinguish themselves in journalism — a profession of very competitive people. Some of his former reporters now work at Reuters and Time magazine, in Washington and Albany and New York City.

Bob worked hard to find the right combination of factors to disseminate news on the internet. The current very successful website is the culmination of Bob’s efforts and its community acceptance is a great tribute to Bob’s perseverance.

Bob’s columns were widely read and anticipated.

We will miss Bob’s energy, enthusiasm and his absolute dedication to telling stories which impact readers. He understands news and the challenges of publishing accurate and fair stories. He has withstood pressure to compromise his values.

He has been very active in the community and helped create the Hall of Achievement at Case Middle school. The Hall was a community effort he led to remind today’s students of the success of people who attended Watertown Public Schools in the past. He has overseen recent development of the Thompson Park Conservancy. He brought nationally renowned speakers to JCC and the city.

His wife, a teacher at Indian River, has excelled in barbershop singing, helping bring distinction to voices from the north country. Their sons, Sean and Matt, made Watertown High School a basketball powerhouse.

We will miss Bob in his retirement but we are heartened to know that he will devote his energy to the United Way, have the time to help his father who recently moved to Watertown and that he will consult with us as we continue to tell the North Country story.”

A reception to introduce Mr. Gorman to United Way stakeholders is being planned for early June.

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