Remembering Carol Stark: A lifetime of news leadership, mentorship

Carol Stark, 61, Executive Editor of The Globe, died Wednesday August 14, 2019 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, MO after an extensive battle with cancer.

Stark began her career as a journalist in 1977 at the Carthage Press, before her venture to the Joplin Globe in 1983 as a general assignment reporter and assistant editor, before becoming the first woman in The Globe’s 123 years to reign as Executive Editor. Stark also served several times as a juror for the Pulitzer Prize.

In 2018, after expanding news leadership structure, The Globe’s parent company, CNHI, Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., named Stark Regional Editor.

Stark was widely recognized in Missouri’s journalism specter holding the title of President of the Missouri Press Association, as well as being inducted into their Hall of Fame this September, making her the second recipient from The Globe.

Among her amble accomplishments, Stark lead the newsroom in reporting following the 2011 Joplin tornado, which The Globe received numerous honors including the Distinguished Writing Award of Deadline News Reporting from the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 2012. 

Emily Younker, Assistant Metro Editor, and Education Reporter at the Joplin Globe worked closely with Stark for almost 10 years. She remembers the times in the newsroom post tornado with Stark as compassionate.

“Of course she was concerned about getting a paper out the next day with whatever information we had at the time,” said Younker. “Which we did that, but to me her primary concern was her people, her newsroom, her employees, her work family.”

“While she was directing tornado coverage, she was on the phone trying to reach employees who hadn’t called in, employees she knew lived in the path of the tornado, making sure she could account for every single person at the paper,” said Younker.

Stark worked alongside Joplin High School journalists on The Spyglass, even coordinating a workshop for high school journalism students. Stark also supported legislation to protect journalism written by high school students.

 Younker, who was hired at The Globe by Stark reflects on their relationship as always being helpful to the new journalists.

“She really took a liking to everybody, but especially the young reporters,” said Younker. “The new reporters who were just out of school, she really took all of us under her wing and was a really good mentor.”

Stark also worked closely with Southern students in newswriting, and producing The Chart. She took pride in aiding students, and even offered internships through The Globe.

Olive Sullivan, former Assistant Professor of Communication and former advisor to The Chart and Vivid: The Fine Arts Magazine, remembers Stark as the liaison between The Chart and The Globe.

“They [students] did some cool projects over the years, often focusing on events at MSSU but not always,” said Sullivan. 

Matt Barney, former Southern student and Editor-in-Chief at The Chart, interned with Stark for two years and recalls her as being a mentor.

“She [Stark] was always very encouraging, very helpful,” said Barney. “Anything she could do to help you she would always try and do that.”

 Since Stark’s passing earlier this month, The Missouri Southern Foundation has created the Carol Stark Excellence in Journalism Scholarship Fund to benefit Southern journalism students, hoping to keep Stark’s legacy and generosity alive in the journey of aspiring journalists.

In launching the scholarship an anonymous donor has offered to match donations for the first $10,000 donated. Donations can be sent through mail to “Missouri Southern Foundation, 3950 E. Newman Road, Joplin, MO, 64801.”