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John L. Dotson Jr., former publisher of Akron and Boulder newspapers, dies

John L Dotsom (22028)
John L Dotsom

John L. Dotson Jr., former publisher and president of the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colo., and the Akron Beacon (Ohio) Journal, died on Friday in Boulder, Colo., of mantle-cell lymphoma. He was 76 years old.

Dotson was publisher of the Akron paper when in 1994, the newspaper won a Pulitzer Gold Medal for Meritorious Public Service for a series of articles on race relations. A year later, he won the John S. Knight Gold Medal, Knight Ridder’s highest award for overall achievement. The award recognized Dotson’s winning the Pulitzer Prize and leading the Beacon Journal to record earnings.

Dotson was publisher of the Akron paper from 1992 to 2002, when he retired. He was named publisher emeritus.

Before taking the top job at the Beacon Journal, Dotson was publisher and president of the Daily Camera from 1987 to 1992. He also was founder and chairman of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, an Oakland, Calif.-based organization devoted to training journalists to work in a multi-cultural environment.

In 1997, he was awarded the distinguished diversity award for lifetime achievement by the National Association of Minority Media Executives. Dotson also served on the Pulitzer Board nine years and the board of the Newspapers Association of America.

A native of Paterson, N. J., Dotson graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia. Temple would later award him an honorary doctorate.

He worked 17 years for Newsweek, where he was Los Angeles Bureau Chief and senior editor/news editor in New York.

Dotson left Newsweek to join Knight-Ridder, and he served as director of operations at the Philadelphia Inquirer. He also held several other positions at Philadelphia Newspapers Inc., operator of the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer.