The calm leadership of Tim Cotter
Timothy J. Cotter, known for his even-keeled guidance of the newsroom, is winding up his 34-year career as an editor at The Day. It won’t be the same without him.
His calm leadership style masks the dedication of a passionate journalist who cares deeply about justice, fairness, accuracy and above all, the people who work in this challenging business. He absolutely loves a good story.
Tim Cotter has most recently served as executive editor of The Day Publishing Company. As such, he is a member of the leadership team that makes company-wide decisions for all the departments that combine to report, document, present and support the newspaper and its website, theday.com. That is only his latest gig, however; he has been managing editor and deputy managing editor, nightside and then daytime city editor. He served as the first website managing editor. He has been a columnist, a book reviewer and a writer about food and drink – happily, beer.
He finds it awkward to talk about himself, even when asked in the context of an interview upon the culmination of more than three decades of a career. Tim prefers to talk about his pride in the work The Day does – and particularly in the challenging years since the COVID-19 pandemic followed on the heels of slow recovery from the Great Recession. Both of those changed the ways local and state government carried out their responsibilities but not The Day’s – or Tim Cotter’s – commitment to the public’s right to know.
It is a greater tribute than most people might realize to say that the last several years were Tim’s greatest hour, as he led the news staff in keeping readers aware of the constantly developing effects of the pandemic. All pandemic-related coverage was provided free of charge on theday.com for the duration of the crisis, and Tim saw to it that people would have the life-changing news they needed, as well a portal on the work of those on the frontlines.
“Bad times make good stories,” is how he looks at it. For a team forced to work remotely or alone in an emptied building, Tim was not only their constant link but their coach and cheerleader. Perhaps only veterans of newsrooms would understand what the loss of constant interaction in a big, noisy room would mean to the process of gathering, weighing and accurately conveying the context of news. The production of a daily news stream depends on many minds and hands working together on the same task and topics, with the outcome of a good news operation always better than the sum of its parts.
Tim Cotter has run one of the best news operations in New England, as his colleagues in Connecticut and other states have shown by inducting him into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2018. Under his leadership, The Day has been named New England Newspaper of the Year eight times in the last 10 years, despite the difficult economic times for journalism. He is, as Publisher Timothy Dwyer has said, “an architect of The Day’s national reputation as a newspaper that produces outstanding local news coverage while also one of the best training grounds for young journalists.”
“Tim is a journalistic treasure,” the publisher added. “No one is more passionate about covering local news. He has had a huge impact on The Day newsroom, and the readers in our region were the beneficiaries of his dedication to local news. He led a newsroom during a period of great financial turmoil, but always found a way to not only produce excellent daily coverage, but also long-term projects like the affordable housing lab project. In addition, he has served as a mentor to many young journalists who came to The Day right after college. He may be retiring, but he is leaving behind an everlasting legacy.”
The staff, board of directors and alumni colleagues of Tim Cotter at The Day invite our readers to join us in congratulating a quiet leader on his well-earned retirement. You may not have known this modest man was at the helm, but if you know The Day, you know Tim Cotter.
The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Timothy Dwyer, Executive Editor Izaskun E. Larrañeta, staff writer Erica Moser, retired executive editor Tim Cotter and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.