The Newsroom At 55 Park Place
By Don Storch
Books By Don Storch
The Newsroom At 55 Park Place
Snakes in the Swamp
If a Passive-Progressive Leads from behind he is a Double Oxymoron
This book is dedicated to my Mom and Dad, mentors of an only child, with daily memories of loving gratefulness, Viola Pauline (Helmstatt) Storch (1910 – 1969) and George John Storch (1903-1969)
Norman B. Tomlinson Jr
As I sat alone in the newsroom with empty desks, old typewriters, absent of people, the AP ‘A’ wire came to life and bells started ringing singling a bulletin.
I got up from my desk tore the story away from the teletype machine, the headline read: Norman B. Tomlinson Jr., Dead At 90.
It was one of those flash forwards I warned you about.
All of a sudden it was December 7, 2017, I was deeply saddened to learn of Norman B. Tomlinson Jr’s passing after a brief illness at the age of 90. There was no one in the newsroom to commiserate with.
A mentor was gone, a life well lived, after a lifetime of achievements in the publishing world – no small achievement.
He taught me to write the way in which I would tell a story to my mother, he said, “then the whole world will understand what you are saying.”
Although diminutive in size, Norman was no small player.
He graduated from Princeton University, receiving an A.B. degree with honors in 1948 and then went on to Harvard Law School receiving a J.D. degree in 1951 after which he served two years in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps during the Korean War.
He was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1954, personally telling me that he believed he did so on first try because of his excellent penmanship, we all knew otherwise.
He did his clerkship, but immediately joined the family business, The Morristown Daily Record as general manager. The paper was established by his grandparents.
Norman’s father, Norman Tomlinson Sr., known in the newsroom as, ‘Father,’ frequently asked reporters to pick up mail at the next-door Morristown Post Office. He was Editor and Publisher, a position he held until fully retiring in 1970 at which time he named his son, known by his informal signature of “nbtjr,” as president and editor-publisher.
Norman enjoyed following professional sports – especially the New York Giants.
One Sunday evening I was invited to join Norman, his wife Barbara and his young daughter, at the time, Kate, for dinner. The New York Giants were on TV that evening so it was necessary for us to be finished with dinner by 8PM so we could watch the game.
I got up from the dinner table to join Norman in the living room, put my crumpled cloth napkin on the table and preciouses, Kate turned to her mother and said, “Mr. Donald didn’t fold his napkin.”
Never let a reporter into your home, they never stop reporting.
Norman gathered his clipboard for note taking and we watched the Giant game.
He was not afraid to take a stand on issues that he believed in, even if others disagreed.
He was instrumental in the founding of the County College of Morris, he believed it necessary for the county to have an educational facility that was more than a trade school and began an old-fashioned newspaper campaign.
He was also involved with a legal case that won girls the right to be newspaper carriers.
All the while he continued the newspaper’s growth and leadership in the industry in the last quarter of the century. Its coverage grew beyond Morris County, and in April of 1973, The Daily Record published its first Sunday edition. It was also one of the first newspaper’s in New Jersey to publish in color.
The family decided to sell the paper to Gannett in 1989, and it sold at the time, for a record price for a daily newspaper, reportedly at $155 million.
But Norman wasn’t ready to retire to Florida yet. He became a partner in New Jersey Monthly in 1976 and subsequently it became a fully-owned subsidiary of the family business with Norman as publisher and editor-in-chief. He was aided by his wife, Barbara, and daughter, precious Kate, who later took over her father’s position as publisher and editor-in-chief, a position she holds today.
Norman was a philanthropist and readily gave back to the community that was good to him.
He had many interests, he served as a trustee of The Peck School, The Pingry School and was a supporter of local hospitals, the Morristown Medical Center in particular. He endowed the Norman B. Tomlinson Jr. Book Prize, which is awarded annually for the best English-language work of history on the World War I era.
Norman became a full-time resident of Miami Fl where he maintained a vacation residence for many years. He was an enthusiastic supporter of local charities there, including the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
He was a low-key giant in the publishing field, although diminutive in size, as I said.
To Be Continued. . .