Carol Stark, executive editor of The Joplin Globe, will be inducted into the Missouri Press Association's Newspaper Hall of Fame in September.
Stark is the second from the Globe to be honored with the prestigious award. The late Wendell Redden, longtime sports editor, was inducted last year in the Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1991 and also includes Joseph Pulitzer, Walter Williams and Samuel Clemens as inductees.
"It takes my breath away," Stark said of the recognition. "It's the type of honor that, at the end of the day, caps anybody's career. It says that the work you and your newspaper do is important."
The announcement, made Monday by the MPA, also includes four other inductees: the late Thomas Benton White, founder and publisher of The Benton County Enterprise; the late Frank Stufflebam, editor and publisher of the Bolivar Herald; and former MPA President Phil and Kathy Conger, owners and publishers of the Bethany Republican-Clipper.
Stark began her journalism career in 1977 at the age of 18 at the Carthage Press. She joined the Globe in 1983, first reporting from the newspaper's Carthage bureau and then working as a general assignment reporter and assistant editor. She was named executive editor in 2007, becoming the first woman in the newspaper's 123-year history to hold that position.
In 2018, the same year she served as president of Missouri Press Association, her role was expanded further as she was named regional editor for the Globe’s parent company, Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.
Following the May 2011 tornado, Stark and her newsroom were thrust into the national spotlight as the newspaper led editorial coverage of the aftermath of one of Missouri’s worst natural disasters. The Globe’s staff was nationally recognized for its coverage of the events, despite suffering its own losses, including the death of a page designer.
Stark also has been a longtime advocate of helping young journalists break into the profession, including being an adviser to Missouri Southern State University’s The Chart; working with Joplin High School students on their newspaper, The Spyglass; running an annual journalism workshop for high school students for more than 30 years; and supporting legislation that would protect the journalism produced by high school students.
Stark is the embodiment of an editor who is passionate about serving the public interest, said Bill Ketter, senior vice president of news for CNHI.
"She provides thoughtful dialogue between The Joplin Globe and the communities it serves with journalism that matters," he wrote in an email to the Globe. "The greatest example of this was her remarkable leadership in responding to the devastating tornado that struck Joplin on Sunday, May 22, 2011, crippling much of the city and its services for months. Under Carol’s direction, the Globe rallied the city to recover from the catastrophe while also reporting on its heartbreaking and deadly consequences."
Stark also has great skill in relating to others and is smart about the way she oversees news coverage, he said.
"That translates into terrific story ideas, human interest news content, and columns and editorials that espouse ways to address problems and bring readers together," he said. "She understands the purpose of a local newspaper is to inform its readers no matter the nature of the news, to serve as a watchdog over government and other institutions of influence, and to always look for ways to improve the paper’s obligation to the community.”
Stark said her favorite thing about being a journalist is telling people's stories. She thanked her family, Globe readers and her peers for supporting her achievements in journalism.
Stark has two sons, Craig Stark and his wife, Christen, of Pilot Grove; and Joe Stark and his wife, Katy, of Ozark; and six grandchildren. Among those submitting nominating letters on behalf of Stark were Andy Ostmeyer, Globe metro editor; Emily Younker, Globe assistant metro editor; and Joplin resident Jane Cage.
The induction reception and banquet are scheduled for Friday, Sept. 27, during the Missouri Press Association’s 153rd annual convention and trade show at Harrah’s North Kansas City Hotel. Hall of Fame inductees or their families will receive Pinnacle Awards in honor of their service to the Missouri newspaper industry and their communities. Plaques of the inductees will join a permanent display in the MPA office in Columbia and in Lee Hills Hall at the Missouri School of Journalism.