Herb Robinson (BA, 1949): A veteran in more ways than one

Herb Robinson By Amanda Weber –

Herb Robinson (BA, 1949) was a model journalist, and a mentor to many. His career in journalism began and ended at The Seattle Times where he served as Campus Correspondent as a student, and Editorial Page Editor before retirement in 1989. In between, Robinson saw combat in Burma during World War II, and upon his return he began a career in television, working for KOMO-TV as Anchor, News Director, and On-Air Host of Deadline, a daily news program.

“He never stopped working on telling stories,” said David Domke, Department Chair. “He always believed that a powerful story can make a difference.” And Robinson’s stories did make a difference. Over 20 years, he produced thousands of pieces. He was honored by The Municipal League in 1983 and the Washington State School Directors Association in 1973 for his contributions to understanding public policy issues. His colleagues saw him as a man who really believed in democracy; an old-fashioned journalist. The stories he wrote on politics covered all sides, and gave the underdog the chance to be heard. “Herb had that sparkle in his eye whenever the elections rolled around,” said Karen Rathe who worked with Robinson for two years at The Seattle Times. “He never tired of interviewing people, whether for the local city council, state candidacies, school board, or someone vying for the US Senate. He always had time for those people. He wanted to know what was driving them and what they would give if elected to office.”

Having worked for KOMO-TV in the pioneering years of 1953 to 1965, Robinson was known for having launched credible TV journalism. He was a local celebrity, and highly regarded. Former colleague Lance Dickie said, “The credibility he had with the community was based on his career of solid work and his own personal graciousness. He made people comfortable when they came in. Whether they agreed or disagreed with him, there was a respect for him which was very striking.”

Although Robinson demanded only the best material from his fellow journalists, he was also known to be a very warm, personable man. “He had a perfect sense of humor, very wry,” said Dickie, “and he was a great bridge player.” Robinson was an invaluable contributor to The Seattle Times, TV journalism, and to his country.