In its nearly 100 years of life, The Barberton Herald racked up an array of accolades. This showed a commitment not just to reporting, but reporting it well.
The archives at the Barberton Public Library is incomplete, missing the first five years. But the earliest issue on file, Jan. 18, 1928, has the tagline “Adjudged the best non-county seat newspaper in the Ohio Newspaper Show.”
That show was later renamed after Osman C. Hooper, the Columbus journalist who helped establish it. The Herald dominated the many categories.
Some highlights include:
• An in-depth reporting award for a three-part series on homelessness in Barberton in 2001
• A community awareness award for multiple pieces on the 2003 sale of part of Tuscora Park for hospital expansion
• An in-depth reporting award for a four-part series on the city’s ownership of the Lake Theater building in 2012
• A local feature award for a 20-year follow-up on a Bosnian immigrant family in 2020
• A community awareness award in 2020 for a three-part series on race relations
• Best news coverage in 2021
In addition to these, some awards became habits. Herald photos and sports coverage consistently placed in the top three, year after year. “Women Mean Business” continued to heap honors and became much-imitated. Bob Morehead’s “Ramblings by Robert” column earned first place every year it was entered except one; that year it took third.
Two years in a row, 2012 and 2013, The Herald took news coverage honors not in the state, but in the nation, with the National Newspaper Association.
Community service has been at the heart of the Herald for a long time. Besides helping sway the expansion of the hospital, the paper was a major player in the creation of the Mum Festival in 1991 and the Christmas Walk in 1996 and for several years played host to Downtown Barberton Inc. In 2018, The Herald organized the charity Millionaire Auction, with $50,000 in prizes.
During the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, The Herald kept local news alive offering its full online edition free for several months, at a time when the flow of information was needed most.