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John D. Clifford

John Clifford

John Clifford

During his 55-year tenure at the Watertown Daily Times, John Clifford led the paper through the offset printing revolution. But it is who he was, and not just what he accomplished, that earned him the respect of his peers.

After graduating from Watertown High School in 1927, he received a journalism degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1931. He worked for a year as general manager with the Shorewood and Whitefish Bay weekly newspapers before returning to Watertown as the editor and publisher of the Times, the paper in which his family had been stockholders since 1919, in May of 1932.

Clifford had already long been on the job when the offset printing revolution swept through the newspaper industry. He quickly adopted the new printing practice, with the first cold type edition published Monday, Oct. 18, 1971. The changes kept on coming, and Clifford continued to commit to excellence through the use of technology as editor and publisher of the Times until his death in 1987.

During that time, he also was devoted to and active in the newspaper industry as a whole, serving as secretary of the board and a director of the Inland Daily Press Association (now the Inland Press Association) as well as president of the Wisconsin Daily Newspaper League (now Wisconsin Newspaper Association). He led a community group which saved the local show factory, then one of the city’s largest employers, from closing. Clifford also served as a member of the board of directors of the Potawatomi Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, Watertown Memorial Hospital Association and National March of Dimes Association.

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