Tom Robotham was born and raised in Staten Island, NY. After earning a B.A. in English from the State University of New York, Plattsburgh, he began his career as a journalist, working as an education reporter and music columnist for The Staten island Advance. Subsequently, he worked as an editor for Esquire Press, the book imprint of Esquire Magazine, and then as a video producer for Hearst Magazines.
In 1998, he was appointed editor-in-chief of Port Folio Weekly in Norfolk, VA. He served in that capacity until 2008. Since then, he has divided his time between freelance writing and teaching American Studies at Old Dominion University.
Virginia Press Association's D. Lathan Mims Award for Editorial Leadership ~ 2003.
Writing about his selection, Pulitzer Prize winner Bernard L. Stein wrote: "Reading Tom Robotham's column is like running into an acquaintance who invites you home for a drink, kicks off his shoes and tells you about what he's been doing and thinking since you last met.
"His conversational style allows him to roam over a variety of issues... [while sharing] his abiding concerns for his community and [his appreciation of]... what he calls 'the music of ordinary life.'
"Robotham is not afraid to embrace contradictions.... His effort to avoid being pigeonholed and his willingness to confess uncertainty clearly touches a responsive chord in his readers, who accept his challenge to extend the debate he provokes.
"I particularly like the way he calls attention... to what is valuable yet cannot be measured by price....
"Often his reflections are moving. For example: a tribute to a mortally ill community leader leads him-and through him us-to reflect, 'I've grown distracted by the white noise of my own anxieties—the static of my soul—and have wasted precious time in the process.' That's good writing, something that deserves to be recognized because it's in such short supply in newspapers big and small."