A Note to TWT’s Morton: ‘Godspeed to a Person of Exceptional Grace’

We received word today that TWT’s Robert Morton is leaving the publication. Morton is the managing editor of the National Weekly Edition of TWT. The emotional internal memo was sent to staff from TWT’s Sonya Jenkins, V.P. of Human Resources, at the request of the publication.

Read the letter after the jump…

At the request the President & Publisher.

To the staff of The Washington Times, It is with deeply mixed feelings that I am letting you know that Robert Morton has informed me of his decision to end his tenure here at The Times.

Robert began his career as a student editor at the Daily Texan in Austin and continued for the next 34 years as a foreign correspondent and later editor at the New York City Tribune, editor of a foreign policy journal and newsletters, and then to Washington where he was Corporate Editor, Editor of the National Weekly and Associate Publisher.

In 1992, he conceived of and then in 1994 developed and implemented plans for the National Weekly which he has edited since. This publication, with the able direct marketing expertise of Jim Howell, has earned about $56 million in primarily subscription revenues and enjoyed a 76 percent renewal rate, making it an industry leader in that respect over its 16-year history. In 2009 when most newspapers were in decline, the National Weekly’s circulation grew 32 percent. The National Weekly had The Times’ first Internet site and for years Robert fed breaking Times exclusives to the Drudge Report as a personal initiative.

During the 1970s, Robert led the New York City Tribune into battle in the culture wars for freedom and family values (remember the National Endowment for the Arts controversies?) and frequently took on the New York Times for its bias in foreign coverage that at that time set the agenda for all media in defining what was the news for Americans and much of he world. The Tribune’s investigative series on the husband of Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 was said to have prompted several major U.S. newspapers to put teams of reporters on the story although their reporting was limited to campaign and family finances. Only L.A. Times media critic David Shaw and the New York Post credited the Tribune’s reporting.

My mixed feelings are because while feeling that my right arm has gone numb, I also know that Robert’s decision will allow him time not only to get a good night’s sleep, but also to follow new pursuits and spend more time with his family. Fortunately for The Washington Times, one of his activities will be to continue to oversee the news and opinion content of the National Weekly, which he has offered to do remotely. After thinking for a nano-second, I accepted his offer.

Please join me in extending best wishes and Godspeed to a person of exceptional grace and integrity who loves The Washington Times and will always regard it as America’s newspaper.