Timothy S. Robinson, 58; Journalist, Net Search Pioneer


Thursday, October 9, 2003
Washington Post, Page B05

Timothy S. Robinson, 58, a journalist who covered the Watergate trials and other legal matters for The Washington Post and later was editor of the National Law Journal and a pioneer in development of Internet content search capacities, died Oct. 7 of complications of colon cancer surgery at Loudoun Hospital Center.

Mr. Robinson worked for The Post in the 1970s and in publishing for the legal profession from 1980 to 1995.

In recent years, he had been director of network programming for NBCi.com, the Internet gateway to NBC’s entertainment sites, and chief producer for the AltaVista Internet search service. He also was supervising producer and manager of daily programming for Excite.

He returned to the Washington area in April to be editorial director for search and navigation at America Online. His home was in Reston.

Mr. Robinson attended Walker College and graduated from Samford University, both in his native Alabama. He received a master’s degree in communications from American University and a master’s in studies of law from Yale University.

He began his career in Alabama, where he was a reporter for the Jasper Daily Mountain Eagle, assistant state editor of the Birmingham Post-Herald and a reporter and photographer for United Press International. He moved to Washington in the late 1960s to be a speechwriter for Agriculture Secretary Orville Freeman. In 1968, he became editor of the Washington Examiner, a short-lived experiment in newspaper publishing by D.C. Transit owner O. Roy Chalk.

Mr. Robinson joined The Post as assistant city editor in 1969 and later was night city editor and day city editor. He began covering federal courts in 1973 and was assigned to the Watergate trials. He also did investigative reporting on judicial and police corruption and national security matters and wrote about developments in the legal field. He wrote a weekly column on lawyers for the Washington Business section. He also served as chair of the Newspaper Guild unit at the newspaper.

He moved to New York in 1980 to be editor in chief of the National Law Journal, then two years old. He helped build it into the largest-selling publication for lawyers in the country and also was publisher of Professional Office Design, which was owned by the same company. He left as vice president of the company in 1989 to be editor and associate publisher of the Los Angeles Daily Journal. He joined Excite in 1995.

In addition, Mr. Robinson and his wife, Janet Andrew, operated a media consulting firm. He also lectured on legal and media topics. His interests included the piano, singing and New Orleans cuisine.

His first wife, Bonnie Powell Robinson, died in 1986.

In addition to his wife, of Reston, survivors include three brothers and a sister.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company