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Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame

Dolph Tillotson

Dolph Tillotson
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Dolph Tillotson

Southern Newspapers, Inc.; Galveston County Daily News

Hall of Fame Class of 2018

Dolph Tillotson of Galveston, president of Southern Newspapers Inc., has been in the newspaper business since 1969. He began his career in news and has served as general manager, publisher and president for two community newspaper companies, Southern Newspapers Inc. of Houston and Boone Newspapers Inc. of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

A native of Tuscaloosa and a 1972 graduate of the University of Alabama, Tillotson started his news career as a reporter at The Tuscaloosa News in 1969. He rose through the ranks to serve as publisher of newspapers in Mississippi, Iowa and Texas. He came to work for Southern in 1987 as publisher of The Galveston County Daily News and was named president of SNI in March 2014.

Tillotson is widely recognized as an exemplary newspaper executive and community builder and rebuilder. His efforts in directing The Galveston County Daily News’ coverage of Hurricane Ike stands out among his peers. The devastating 2008 storm took 195 lives and caused an estimated $25 billion in damages, forever disrupting the lives of Galveston residents, businesses and governmental bodies. With many employees refusing to leave the island during and after the hurricane, Tillotson led an effort described as historic, not only covering the tragedy but offering community leadership and assistance during the recovery.

Over his career, Tillotson has also served another community — the newspaper community — serving as president of the Atlanta-based Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and the Texas Daily Newspaper Association. For many years he chaired Texas newspapers’ Legislative Advisory Committee, leading critical battles for open government on behalf of Texas newspapers and the communities they serve. In 2000, his First Amendment and open government work won him the James Madison Award from the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

In 2016, he received Texas Press Association’s Frank W. Mayborn Award for Community Leadership.