Ben Campbell has been named publisher of The Columbian, continuing a 99-year tradition of Campbell family ownership of the newspaper into its fourth generation.
The transition was made official today by Scott Campbell, who will become the company’s non-executive chairman of the board.
Longtime Columbian circulation executive Rachel Rose was named as the newspaper’s new circulation director, succeeding Ben Campbell.
“I’m excited to take on my new role at The Columbian,” Ben Campbell said. “Together with our employees, our family plans to continue to provide news and information to Southwest Washington for many years to come.”
The Columbian is one of an increasingly scarce number of community newspapers with local owners. The transition to a fourth generation, which has been in the works for several years, makes the newspaper even more remarkable.
Herbert J. Campbell bought The Columbian in 1921 with $10,000 he had earned selling “Campbell liners,” which were little trivia notes that could be used to fill the bottom of a news column in the days of hot lead type. He ran The Columbian until 1941, when he was stricken with a heart attack and died while driving home from Salem, Ore.
After a transition period, his sons, Don and Jack Campbell, ran the business for a generation. Jack Campbell died in 1978 and Don Campbell turned over the publisher’s job to his son, Scott Campbell, in 1987.
Ben Campbell thus becomes the fourth generation of the family to assume the role of publisher, which is equivalent to the newspaper’s chief executive officer. As part of his duties, he has joined The Columbian’s editorial board.
Scott Campbell said he will remain on the editorial board and stay active in company affairs, but in a lesser capacity. Two other Campbell family members will continue to work at The Columbian: Jody Campbell is the community partnerships director and a member of the editorial board. Will Campbell is an assistant metro editor who directs business news coverage.
The fifth Campbell family owner, Ross Campbell, is the general manager of the Portland Pickles baseball team.