The Herald is a daily, community newspaper (Monday-Saturday). Our offices are located at 216 E. Fourth St. in Jasper, Ind. We are one of only 300 independently owned newspapers in the United States. Our mailing address is:
The Herald P.O. Box 31 Jasper, IN 47547-0031
The Herald’s circulation is 12,600 and covers Dubois County and parts of Spencer and Pike counties. A recent independent survey of our readers revealed that 92% of all adults in Dubois County read The Herald.
A History of The Herald
You might say The Herald has a storied past. Being an integral part of the community it covered for over a 100 years, it has told thousands of stories in words and pictures about the people that made Dubois County what it is.
This is the story of the people and newspapers who told those stories.
William C. Binckley, a former St. Meinrad student, published and edited the first Jasper Herald.
It was the third newspaper to circulate in Jasper.
As communities popped up in the Midwest during the period of Western Expansion in the United States, printers followed to establish community newspapers.
The Eagle became the first newspaper in Jasper on July 4, 1846. When the editor, Henry Comingore, moved into the community, he was given space in the newly built courthouse to print his paper.
Subscriptions to The Eagle were paid through barter — Comingore received grains and vegetables in return for the paper.
Comingore published The Eagle until 1848 when he moved to Paoli.
For 10 years, the growing community of Jasper was without a newspaper.
Jasper’s second newspaper, The Courier, was established in 1858 by the firm Mehringer, Doane and Smith.
One of the partners, Clement A. Doane, a printer by trade, put out the paper. Doane bought out his partners and continued publishing The Courier with his son, Ben Ed.
Control gradually shifted to Ben Ed, a brilliant but eccentric man. He often used The Courier for personal attacks on townspeople, according to Jerome Schmitt who chronicled journalism in Jasper in a paper written in 1947.
Schmitt notes that The Courier soon lost support of local businesses and circulation declined.
That led to the establishment of The Herald in 1895.
Doane continued to put out The Courier until he died in 1921. However, its circulation had fallen to fewer than 100 subscribers by that time.
Meanwhile, the Jasper Herald was growing.
From the first, editor William Binckley adopted the motto: “Always boosting a bigger and better community.”
Binckley noted in the first issue: “The paper will be conducted in the interests of Jasper and Dubois County, will be Democratic in politics, but not obnoxiously radical, for I believe the opinion of others to be entitled to consideration, and that no man shall be made to suffer because he differs with us in his views.
“My chief aim will be to gather the news and publish it in a manner as free from sensationalism and obscenity as possible. The paper will not be run in the interest of any faction, but its columns will always be open to those who wish to express their views in public on topics. By fair and impartial treatment of all classes and hard hustling, I hope to make The Herald a success and a welcome visitor in every home in Dubois County.”
Jasper had grown from a village into an industrial town of 2,000 by 1895. An early issue noted that Jasper had six hotels, two banks, one college, three churches, two orchestras, two cemeteries, two saloons, two livery stables, eight general stores, money in its treasury, exceedingly low rents, wide awake businessmen and excellent opportunities for a city to name a few of the 84 items comprising a list of the town’s assets.
Fourteen years later, in 1909, Binckley sold The Herald to Louis Zoercher, of Tell City, publisher of The News. For the next 10 years, The Herald was printed in Tell City. The management of the paper was delegated to S.C. Smith, a Herald printer.
In 1919, Zoercher was approached by group of Jasper merchants and professionals who were interested in returning The Herald to its home town. Zoercher agreed to sell.
The Jasper Herald Company, comprising 25 businessmen and citizens, was incorporated on May 1, 1919.
Albert T. Rumbach, then 23 and newly discharged after serving in WWI, became the newspaper’s editor and manager. He studied journalism at Marquette University and had worked on the Chicago Examiner.
Rumbach grew up on a farm south of town. He recalled his family “made it our business to contribute to the family budget annually by cutting the finest cedar tree on the farm and delivering it to the Herald office to grace the Binckley Christmas festivities, receiving in exchange a receipt for a year’s subscription to the Jasper Herald.”
Historian Schmitt says that Rumbach proved to be a fearless crusader. “One of his first important acts was to help rid the county of a chapter of the Horse Thief Detective Association, which will be remembered as an affiliation of the Ku Klux Klan.”
When the Herald moved back to Jasper, it moved into the Eckert Building at Sixth and Main streets. It installed a Linotype and new press.
Jasper’s population had grown to 2,539 by 1920 and the town had seven corporations specializing in desk manufacturing.
As the town grew, so did the Herald. In 1929, it moved into a new two-story brick building on Fifth Street between Main and Newton and installed a new press and printed on rolls of paper.
The Herald, as well as the county, came through the Depression. It said, “Our community weathered the storms and came through thanks to the splendid cooperation of every bloomin’ soul without the loss of a single business.”
The Herald was a staunch booster of the United States entry into World War II, despite what historian Schmitt calls the “ticklish” problem of 90 percent of the townspeople being German and the fact a small element of the citizenry favored Germany.
In 1944, J.T. “Jack” Rumbach, the son of A.T., returned to Jasper from Niles, Mich., where he worked as a reporter and sports writer after studying at the University of Notre Dame. He became general manager of the Herald.
He and his father turned the weekly Herald into the Dubois County Daily Herald on Oct. 7, 1946. Its circulation was 3,900 then.
The Daily Herald became one of the first non-metropolitan papers to adopt the “tabloid” format which it retains today.
Because it was now a daily, the Herald began publishing more national and international news. It subscribed to the International News Service and later to United Press International and still later to the Associated Press.
In 1948, Edwin J. Rumbach joined the Herald as advertising manager. He was a WWII veteran serving with the 4th Marine Division and attended college at Marquette University and St. Joseph College.
In 1949, the Daily Herald published its first Sunday edition — when the Jasper Wildcats won the IHSAA basketball state championship. Only two other Sunday editions have been printed since then.
In 1963, the paper moved into the old Coca-Cola Bottling plant at Fourth and Mill streets where it remains today.
Coinciding with the move, the paper installed new presses that incorporated the newest printing technology — offset printing which utilizes a chemical process to get the ink onto paper.
In 1977, The Daily Herald became The Herald when the paper was redesigned.
Around the same time, the paper computerized its news and classified departments. It upgraded those computers in the early 1980s and also computerized the advertising department.
Today, the advertising and news departments use Macintosh computers to produce the paper. Pages for publication are assembled digitally.
J.T. Rumbach retired in 1993 after 48 years at the newspaper. He and E.J. Rumbach became co-chairmen of the Jasper Herald Co. J.T. Rumbach died in 1997, Edwin J. Rumbach died a year later in 1998.
John A. Rumbach, son of J.T., and Dan E. Rumbach, son of E.J., are now co publishers of the newspaper.
Newspaper in Education Program
The Herald’s Newspaper in Education Program includes the highly popular Newspaper in Education Week, the annual special edition where students contribute with letters to the editor and advertising designs, and other worthy projects.
Part of The Herald’s NIE program provides classroom teachers with “Knowledge Unlimited,” a weekly publication that helps teachers instruct students about current events.
The Herald is also actively involved in helping spread the word about the importance of literacy. All of our in-class presentations stress the importance of reading.
To learn more about The Herald’s education programs, including how you can participate, call The Herald at (812) 482-2626 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supporting Our Communities
The Herald has been a strong supporter of communities since its beginning. We do that by covering events, including politics and government, in all communities, providing access to our news pages to clubs and organizations, publishing public records, sponsoring community events and donating money to worthy causes.
The Jasper Herald Company also established three endowments through the Dubois County Community Foundation. The largest, The Herald Endowment for Literacy, directs its proceeds to improve literacy in Dubois County. The John T. Rumbach Journalism Scholarship at VUJ funds scholarships for students actively involved in Vincennes University Jasper’s student newspaper. The Edwin J. Rumbach Charitable Endowment supports non-profit organizations and groups that assist individuals and families in need.
The Jasper Herald Co., which publishes The Herald, operates under a general mission statement:
“The mission of the company is: To produce quality products, sell them at a fair price, and make a reasonable profit; to grow steadily; and to be a good community member.
“The company recognizes that newspaper publishing is a unique business. It serves both the general public and advertiser. And so, the company must publish news free from commercial or political pressure in order to maintain its readers’ trust and loyalty. This, in turn, will serve the advertisers’ interests by providing high readership.
“Further, the company will set a course whereby long term stability is valued over short-term profit.”