“The mark which he made as an editor will stand forever as an honor to himself, his family and his performance.”
This was part of the eulogy printed by The Columbian on May 29,1941, the day Herbert Johnston Campbell died. Campbell, 58, was stricken by a heart
attack while driving his car.
Campbell had been owner, editor and publisher of The Columbian for 20 years and provided the expertise and drive that made the newspaper a leader in the state. His legacy was to be carried on by his sons, Don and Jack Campbell, and later by a grandson, Scott Campbell.
The Columbian itself was founded in 1890 and the first owners were Patrick Hough, S.D. Dennis and State Sen B.F. Shaw. The newspaper struggled along first as a weekly, then as a small daily and a weekly.
Meanwhile, Campbell was born on Christmas Day, 1882, at the Carlisle Indian Institute in Pennsylvania, where his father was superintendent. The family then moved to Oregon and Herbert Campbell graduated from the University of Oregon in 1904.
His first experience was as a cub reporter for the Spokane Chronicle, where he eventually rose to sports editor. He then held various editorial positions on the Oregonian, Oregon Journal, Portland Telegram, Baker Herald and Seattle Post Intelligencer.
In April 1921, he bought The Columbian from Will H. Hornibeck and immediately began to modernize and streamline the newspaper. He beefed up the staff, bringing aboard such personalities as Ray Bachman and Erwin Rieger, and added Associated Press and United Press wire services.
While he was at the helm, The Columbian moved to new quarters at 10th and Broadway and purchased state of the art printing equipment.
“With a keen sense of news values and well defined ideas as to the makeup of a paper, he has developed The Columbian into one of the most valuable newspaper properties in this section of the state,” historian Will Stockley was to write in the late 1920s.