The Rutland Herald is the oldest continuously family-owned newspaper in the United States published under the same name in the same city. Seven families have owned the Herald; the current owners are the Mitchell family.
Fifth-generation Vermonter Bob Mitchell, then the newspaper’s editor, bought the Herald from the Field family with partner Leroy Noble in 1947.
“I knew he [Bill Field] was entrusting the Herald to me because he thought I would manage it as nearly as possible like a public trust,” Mitchell remembered of William Field, himself a second-generation newspaper owner. The newspaper operates under the same philosophy today, in part due to a handshake agreement between Mitchell and the Noble family. When the Nobles decided to sell, they accepted a less lucrative offer from the Mitchells, rather than have the newspaper bought out by a national chain.
The Herald today does well what it has done throughout its life, as spelled out in the very first edition from Dec. 8, 1794: “…The end we mean to have steadily in view is, to make the Herald an Instructive, Entertaining, and Useful Paper, uninfluenced by parties, and as free as possible from any mixture of prejudice.”
The Herald is the only paper in Vermont to be honored with journalism’s highest award, the Pulitzer Prize, for principled editorials by David Moats about the debate over civil unions in 2000. The newspaper has also won dozens of awards for advertising, layout, reporting, public service and general excellence – just in this decade. Several of the Herald’s reporters and editors have gone on to win Pulitzers at other newspapers as well.
After Bob Mitchell’s death in 1993, his son R. John Mitchell became the publisher of the Rutland Herald.
Read the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorials by David Moats here.