Timothy J. Cotter
The Day (New London, CT)
Tim Cotter’s 38-year journalism career has been spent entirely in New England. He began his career with a string of weeklies in southern Rhode Island, where he moved from sports reporter, to news reporter, to sports editor, to editor of the newspaper, winning numerous awards along the way.
In 1989 Tim was hired at The Day in New London, Conn. He started as night city editor, and 10 years ago he was named The Day’s managing editor. Tim was the first-ever online editor at The Day and the first managing editor for online news. He is a member on the board of the New England Society of News Editors, is a past president of the Rhode Island Press Association and taught in the URI Journalism Department.
Tim is a guiding light in The Day’s newsroom. His true skill is in managing big projects. Whether it’s breaking news like a police shooting or crippling blizzard, or Sunday stories probing hiring at the Electric Boat shipyard or the conversion of mainstream city churches to havens for new evangelical congregations, or investigative pieces such as a thorough look at the declining school populations, mortgage fraud, or chronicling the local pain of the national heroin epidemic, Tim directs, encourages and oversees staff to produce quality work.
He makes sure that reporting at The Day is deep, incisive and fair. Even with cutbacks in the newsroom, under Tim’s direction the newspaper has continued to win many awards, including for investigative reporting. That hasn’t happened by accident. His hiring decisions, his grooming of young reports and his leadership of veteran staff has kept The Day a quality publication in an uncertain age. In Tim’s 10 years as The Day’s managing editor, the paper has been recognized as the New England Newspaper and Press Association’s Newspaper of the Year award eight times. Six of the enterprise projects that Tim has edited won Publick Occurrence Awards.
In an age when so many journalists have left the business to make money elsewhere, when reporters are overworked and editors are jaded, people like Tim should be celebrated. He has kept up The Day’s standard against overwhelming odds, and he has done it without drama or fanfare. He’s working on the cutting edge of a social media age while making sure The Day is doing meaningful, nuanced reporting.