John B. Johnson Jr., Newspaper Editor, Stepping Down


The longtime editor of the Watertown Daily Times is stepping down from that post.

In a story posted to its web site, the newspaper said John B. Johnson Jr. made the announcement in an email to staff Friday,

He will write editorials for the newspaper and continue his community work, Johnson said in the email.

Johnson notes he is "well into my 70th year" and writes "It is time for me to retire from day to day management of the company."

The change is effective May 6.

"I am very, very proud of what we have accomplished, the stories we have told, the lives we have helped improve through our reporting  and the reputation we have all earned," Johnson writes.

During a career that spanned more than 50 years, Johnson played a key role in promoting northern New York, and in particular lobbied for the expansion of Fort Drum. For decades, his newspaper largely shaped public debate on north country issues, and Johnson has been a powerful behind the scenes force in politics and business.

Johnson's long tenure as editor coincided with an era in which many family newspapers sold out to corporate chains. Yet the Watertown Times remained a resolutely local, family-owned newspaper. And until a combination of recession and changing newspaper economics forced them to close, the Times maintained bureaus in both Washington and Albany, which gave the newspaper a reach that far exceeded its size.

Johnson will continue as chairman of the board of Johnson Newspapers, but his son John Johnson will take the job of chief executive officer and co-publisher of the Watertown Times

John B. Johnson Jr.'s brother, Harold Johnson, is president of the company, co-publisher of the Times and becomes vice-chairman of the board.

Harold Johnson's son Alec joins the board of directors.


Saturday, December 10, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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