The Latham family of Batavia and The Clermont Sun have been chosen to receive the Ohio Newspaper Association’s “First Families of Ohio Newspapers Award.”
The award will be presented Feb. 13 at the ONA’s convention in Columbus, and will be part of the association’s 75th anniversary celebration.
Bill and Mary Pat Latham have owned The Clermont Sun Publishing Company 37 years. During that time, the firm has grown from one weekly newspaper, printed elsewhere, to four weeklies, all printed at the company’s headquarters in Batavia.
The staff has swelled from the original eleven (including the two Lathams) to its present size of 45 employees. The newspapers have received numerous ONA awards for editorial excellence.
Mary Pat left the newspaper in 1982 to pursue a career as an attorney. She earned a law degree at Chase College of Law and subsequently served 11 years as an assistant Ohio attorney general. Bill retired in 2001, and the company now is run by Anthony Adams, vice president and general manager.
In 1998, The Sun established an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, through which some of the family's shares of stock were purchased by the company and gradually distributed to the staff. The company now is 48% owned by its employees.
The "First Families" award was created to honor the owners and publishers of Ohio newspapers "whose outstanding service to their communities spans many decades and generations."
"Mary Pat and I are certainly honored to receive this recognition," said publisher Bill Latham. "We have been fortunate through the years to have fine and capable people working with us. We also want to express our appreciation to our readers and advertisers for their support."
Seven other Ohio families and their newspapers also have been chosen to receive the award this year.
Besides the individual awards to be presented, the names of the recipients will be added to a perpetual plaque, which is displayed permanently at the ONA office. These names will complete the perpetual plaque, thus retiring the award.