Norton Receives WSU Alumni Achievement Award

PULLMAN, Wash. — Longtime Seattle Times reporter Dee Norton received the Washington
State University Alumni Achievement Award April 23 at a meeting of the WSU Advancement
Communications Committee in Seattle. He was cited for “outstanding contributions to journalism
and for community activism.”
The proudest moment in his 30-year journalism career, he says, was seeing Washington
Gov. Gary Locke sign a new bill in March 1998 requiring delivery trucks to be equipped with rear
crossview mirrors.
Norton’s personal crusade began after his 3-year-old grandson, Cameron James, died May
18, 1994. The child was killed when a delivery truck backed into him in a Lynnwood parking lot
where he was riding his bicycle. The truck had no rear windows or rear crossview mirrors.
Norton accepted the task of trying to convince state lawmakers of the need for a law
requiring special mirrors on delivery trucks. He and his wife, Jackie, sent three-page letters to
nearly 900 state officials, including fire, police, medical, safety, education, insurance, media and
fraternal groups seeking backing for the new legislation.
Almost daily for two months, in addition to working at his job in Seattle, Norton would walk
from one building to another on the Capitol grounds in Olympia to lobby legislators. Eventually,
Washington became the first state in the country to pass such a law.
The graduate of Seattle’s Garfield High School completed a hitch in the Navy before
enrolling at WSU in 1950. He decided to pursue a degree in journalism, following the lead of his
parents who had been reporters at the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
At WSU, Norton worked his way up to editor of The Daily Evergreen. “One of the neat
things about going to WSU was getting practical reporting experience on the student
newspaper,” he says.
Before embarking on his 30-year reporting career at the Seattle Times in 1968, Norton worked
for the Coos Bay (Ore.) World, The Bremerton Sun, and The Seattle P-I. He covered the federal
courthouse beat for seven years. Later his focus was writing investigative stories and breaking
news. He retired from The Seattle Times in March 1998.