Philip Dougherty was the most influential writer on advertising throughout his 22 years as advertising columnist for The New York Times. His columns, written with fairness and integrity, quickly became the "morning news" for most advertising executives. Dougherty's devotion to advertising and the people who practiced it, his encouragement of the highest standards and frank analysis earned him the absolute trust and respect of the industry. By the time he began broadcasting his morning report on WQXR in 1981, he was not only the voice of advertising, but its conscience as well.
While his words were critical reading for anyone within the advertising business, their influence extended far beyond the industry's borders. Dougherty's column was read by approximately half of the Times’ Manhattan male readers and by a little more than a third of its female readers. His treatment of advertising as a business, firm belief that advertising played an integral role in the nation's economy and his interesting coverage helped to promote and strengthen the industry as a whole, granting it a legitimacy that it previously lacked.
Dougherty not only protected advertising, he was also one of its biggest critics. The use of his high-profile column to highlight the industry's failure to provide opportunities for women and minorities helped to initiate many positive changes. The Advertising Women of New York and the Anti-Defamation League both honored him for his efforts.
Dougherty also raised funds for the Forest Hills Community House, organized and coached Little League baseball and supported Ithaca College. In 1989 Ithaca College started a scholarship for minority journalists in his name and opened a memorial communications facility, the Philip H. Dougherty Newsroom.
Philip Dougherty was regarded by his peers as "unequivocally the best ad reporter in the business."