Augusta: Two professional journalists — both long-time Kansas newspaper publishers — were inducted posthumously into the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame Friday night at the annual meeting of the Kansas Press Association in Junction City.
Richard “Dick” Clasen, the late publisher of the Eureka Herald, and Carter Zerbe, the late publisher of the Augusta Gazette, were honored by their colleagues for a lifetime of service to the newspaper industry in Kansas. Both grew up as sons of newspaper publishers.
The meeting at the Courtyard by Marriott in Junction City also included recognition for journalists for community service, investigative reporting and career accomplishments.
Clasen was born in Norborne, Mo. in 1942. He began his career as editor of the Florence Bulletin in 1964. He later was co-publisher and editor of the Yates Center News before purchasing the Eureka Herald in 1976
He was a former president of the KPA and long-time chairman of the golf committee. Through the years, he served his community in a number of leadership roles, including the Eureka USD 389 Steering Committee for planning of both the new Eureka Junior/Senior High School and Marshall Elementary School.
He was instrumental in the operation of the Eureka Downs horse-racing facility and was former president of the Eureka Country Club and Kiwanis Club as well as a former Republican county chairman in Woodson County.
His popular column was dubbed, “Poor Richard.”
He died in 2007. He had five children, and his family now includes 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. His daughter, Robin Clasen Wunderlich, who has served as editor since her father’s death, bought the newspaper from her mother, Rachel Clasen, earlier this year.
Zerbe was born in Burlington, Iowa, in 1939 but had lived in Augusta since 1958. He graduated with honors from Wichita State University and was married to Lolita Buffington for 54 years.
He succeeded his father as publisher of the Augusta Gazette in 1979 and worked in the publishing business for 46 years. He also served as a regional manager for the Liberty Publishing Group, overseeing newspapers in Kansas and Arizona, mentoring 18 current or retired publishers from Kansas.
His community activities included service on the board of trustees of Butler Community College and the boards of the Augusta Chamber of Commerce, Elliott School of Communication at WSU and Augusta USD 402, where he also served a term as BOE president.
He and Lolita had two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Zerbe died in 2012.
Other awards presented included:
- Rudy Taylor, long-time southeast Kansas publisher, who was presented the Clyde M. Reed Jr. Master Editor Award. Taylor’s career has spanned 45 years and he continues to lead Taylor Family Newspapers, which publishes the Montgomery County Chronicle, Prairie Star and Labette Avenue newspapers.
- Lloyd Craig, the late publisher of the Winfield Courier, who received the Gaston Outstanding Mentor Award for his 55-year career guiding young journalists and other employees.
- Andrew Nash and Sarah Gooding of the Morning Sun in Pittsburg, who were presented the Victor Murdock Award, named for the long-time editor of the Wichita Eagle and the son of the Eagle’s founder, Marshall Murdock. Their series of articles on poverty in Crawford County were labeled by judges “outstanding examples of journalists bringing important issues to their readers.”
- The Kansas City Star, honored with the Boyd Community Service Award for its project in support of the Harvesters’ BackSnack program. Over the past five years, the Star has helped raise more than $1 million for the program to provide assistance to the area’s hungriest children.
Kansas Press Association