The new editor of the Bolivar Herald-Free Press has at least one thing in common with his predecessor prior to this stop in their respective careers.
Matthew Barba comes to Bolivar from Centralia, Ill., where he served as city editor of the Morning Sentinel’s Centralia bureau before being promoted last year to managing editor of the Morning Sentinel’s Mt. Vernon bureau. Both are dailies under the same private ownership.
Charlotte Marsch grew up in that area and worked two summers at the Centralia paper, in 1994 and 1995. Her brother also worked there.
She spent 16 years with the Herald-Free Press, in two eight-year stints, leaving as its editor last month to become director of marketing and communications for Southwest Baptist University, her alma mater.
Barba, who holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, has been with the Sentinel organization since 2007, beginning as a reporter but advancing to the first editor role in May 2012 and then the next level in July.
The 29-year-old is not unfamiliar with the Ozarks. He was born in Mansfield and his parents now live in Marshfield, but most of his formative years were spent traveling with his father’s jobs on various military bases, including Germany. Upon their return to the states, his family moved to southern Illinois, where he attended Centralia High School, home of the Orphans.
He says his job search brought him to this area out of a desire to be closer to his family in Marshfield.
“I’m looking forward to joining the community as a member of the Herald-Free Press staff,” Barba says. “I believe small town newspapers can make a difference by keeping readers informed of what’s going on in their lives and I look forward to helping an already great team continue this newspaper’s long-standing tradition of covering the heart of the community.”
Barba becomes the fifth editor of the Herald-Free Press since 1976. Jim Hamilton held the post starting early that year, followed by Dave Berry in mid-1977. Both are still with the company, the former practicing his love of writing as a senior level reporter with emphasis on columns and rural life, and the latter serving as publisher since 1987.
Judy Kallenbach followed Berry as editor, retiring in 2004 after 25 years with the paper.
Hamilton returned to the post for a few months before Marsch returned to be editor in September 2004.
Barba begins his new role Monday, Feb. 25.