Times-Dispatch publisher receives newspaper group’s leadership award
Thomas A. Silvestri, president and publisher of the Richmond Times Dispatch, this week received the 2018 Frank W. Mayborn Leadership Award from the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. Silvestri was presented with the award Thursday morning at the SNPA News Industry Summit in Nashville.
The award is named for Frank Mayborn, a Texas newspaper leader and founder of SNPA in the 1950s. The Mayborn award is given annually to a visionary leader in the newspaper industry.
“Tom is an advocate for the importance of journalism — accurate, transparent, objective journalism,” said SNPA President Pat Dorsey, publisher of the Austin American-Statesman, in presenting the award.
Silvestri, who was elected SNPA president in 2013 and who currently serves as chairman of the SNPA Foundation board, has been publisher of The Times-Dispatch since 2004. He was honored for his work in Richmond and Virginia, as well as his various innovative projects with SNPA, including the NEX GEN project, which develops future newspaper leaders, and an executive development program run jointly by SNPA and Poynter.
“The related reward has been years of representing the RTD and benefiting from SNPA’s legacy of helping publishers through training, industry research, networking and sharing best practices and ideas,” he said. “It’s a special organization.”
Silvestri, 63, grew up in Westchester County, N.Y. His father was a police officer who always brought a newspaper home from his shift, so newspaper reading was ingrained in him at an early age. Silvestri was editor of his high school paper and his college paper at Pace University.
He began his newspaper career as a reporter for Gannett in Westchester County before joining The Times-Dispatch as a copy editor in 1982. He quickly moved up in the newsroom leadership in Richmond, serving as business news editor before taking several corporate roles in Media General and then becoming publisher.
As a publisher who believes in the power of civic engagement, Silvestri created The Times-Dispatch’s Public Square program, which holds community conversations about important regional and statewide issues throughout the year. The newspaper is planning its 75th Public Square for Oct. 30; the topic will be 75 Hopes for Richmond.
“Tom is an advocate for the importance of journalism — accurate, transparent, objective journalism.” SNPA President Pat Dorsey