Donna Doherty

Donna was a longtime writer and editor at TENNIS magazine, New York Times-owned back then. She rose from assistant editor in 1979 to become its first female editor and a NYT vice president from 1990 to 1998. She was the only female editor of a major sports publication at the time.

She made her own national news in 1970 when she became the first female sports editor of the Northeastern News. As a co-op student, she worked at the New Haven Register with a wide range of assignments. Most notably, she covered the Bobby Seale Black Panther trial related to the murder of a fellow Panther Alex Rackley, who was thought to be a police informant. Her post NU News and co-op career began in 1974 as the first female sportswriter at the New Haven Register.

At TENNIS magazine, she traveled the world writing features, including a White House interview with then-Vice President George H.W. Bush about his tennis life. Donna covered the men’s and women’s tours, all four international Grand Slam events, the Olympics and Davis Cup, and wrote instructional articles with the game’s stars. She managed a staff of 16 editors and 43 contributors worldwide, including stars such as Pete Sampras, Arthur Ashe, Chris Evert, Rod Laver, Stan Smith, Billie Jean King, Mike Lupica and John Feinstein; and was Group Editor of The Tennis Company, which included a TV show and trade magazine.

The Women’s Tennis Association twice nominated Donna as journalist of the year. After the Times sold TENNIS, Donna served as executive director of the Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation. Donna’s volunteer life in the arts provided the expertise for the final chapter of her career, when she returned to the New Haven Register in 2005 for an award-winning stint as its arts editor, retiring in November 2013. 

Her lifelong interest and volunteerism in the arts was spawned with the Arts Council of Greater New Haven as a publicity/marketing consultant for big projects and member artists, and as a board member with Performance Studio, a vibrant environmental theater.

She devotes most of her time now to playing tennis and volunteering at a feline rescue and adoption organization. 

Donna was inducted into the Branford (Conn.) Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

(Donna Doherty is a 1971 graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in Liberal Arts.)