Teacher Spotlight: Mr. Dorman

Extraordinary adviser and well-established journalist


Personal photo via Jim Dorman used with permission

Mr. Dorman and Joan Jett

Nivetha Aravindan, Copy Editor

Recently, Mr. Dorman, the previous advisor of the school newspaper, sat down for an interview.  Mr. Dorman advised the Green Wave Gazette from 2011 to 2017, and worked tirelessly to edit and publish articles from student writers. During his tenure, the Green Wave Gazette website and print editions were extremely interesting and received many compliments.

Aside from advising the Green Wave Gazette, Mr. Dorman is a well-established writer himself. He says that he was inspired to pursue a career in writing when “Co-workers and friends would often comment that I should write more.” Eventually, he took an adult education class on how to get published, and much to his surprise, “the features editor for the Patriot Ledger accepted my query for a feature on local folk music venues. I followed through and my first story was published in the Patriot Ledger in February of 2000.”

Mr. Dorman has written hundreds of theatre and music previews, but also articles on travel, religion, local restaurants and attractions. He said “it’s always fun to interview a musician or comedian whose work I have enjoyed for years.” He enjoys being “invited to their upcoming show and getting to meet them in person either before or after.” Some of his articles are also picked up by Gatehouse Media.

Aside from advising the Green Wave Gazette, Mr. Dorman is a well-established writer himself.

— Nivetha Aravindan

When asked about a highlight in his writing experience, Mr. Dorman stated that “an interview I did with musician Boz Scaggs appeared in numerous papers across the country. That was pretty cool!”

Recently, Mr. Dorman interviewed Chris Vachon, the band leader and lead guitar player for Roomful’ of Blues. Last summer, he wrote a story about 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joan Jett, previewing a show in which she opened up for the band Boston at the Boston Garden. He said “I had interviewed her 14 years earlier, and was invited by Kenny Laguna, her songwriting partner, to attend a sound check and then spend some time backstage. Back then I did not have a cell phone, and thought it uncool to bring my camera for a picture with Joan and her band the Blackhearts. I have regretted that decision ever since. This time, I was sure to get a picture.”

Mr. Dorman’s experiences in journalism helped Green Wave journalists understand the true standards of publishing in newspapers outside of school. “I tried to raise the bar when it came to writing expectations,” said Mr. Dorman. “I tried to uphold the same standards I thought my editors at the Ledger would expect. I bristled every time I heard someone say we should publish a sub par article because, ‘It’s just a high school newspaper.’ Eventually, we started saying, ‘Does this story meet our high expectations?’”

Mr. Dorman thoroughly enjoyed his six-year experience as advisor of the Green Wave Gazette. He says, “I loved everything about advising the newspaper. Creatively, it was a blast to see a story move from just an idea into something real, like an interview with the General Manager of the Boston Red Sox or a real-life survivor of the Jim Crow south. Part of the payoff was the experience of helping a student put together a solid story about a favorite topic, but I favored stories we thought our readers would enjoy, and loved when a story resonated with them in terms of page views.”

Mr. Dorman feels “lucky to work with so many outstanding students who were willing to learn and were not afraid of a little constructive criticism.” When asked about his favorite aspect of producing the school newspaper, Mr. Dorman said that “when our full color glossy print editions were delivered to us by AHS alumnus Brian Crowley from Spectrum Press, it was physical evidence of our efforts and felt so good to see them around school and in our display case.” The newspaper also has a website (www.greenwavegazette.org) that Mr. Dorman said “is pretty special too.”

Green Wave Gazette members are so thankful to have gotten an opportunity to work with Mr. Dorman. Giovan Soares, Class of 2019, joined the newspaper during his freshman year. Last year he undertook an exclusive interview with a survivor from the Jim Crow south, with Mr. Dorman’s assistance. “Mr. Dorman was very supportive and has a lot of experience,” stated Soares. “He is basically a pro at what he does, and his accessibility made it easy for us to ask him questions, which allowed us to learn more.”

Regarding the future of the paper, Mr. Dorman said he is “happy to see many experienced staffers combining with a healthy group of new student journalists to uphold the high standards of the newspaper. It makes me happy to know the newspaper is in good hands. I am so happy that Ms. Pflaumer stepped in to advise the newspaper this year.”