Press publisher Worth Robbins, who died suddenly last week, was one of a kind. His loss is a loss to the town of Harvard and the paper he co-founded. Throughout our 15 years as an independent source of news and opinion, Worth was our champion, playing an unpaid, outsized role as fundraiser, business manager, and IT wizard, constantly improvising, always looking for better ways to operate and sustain the paper he loved.
He was a man of strong opinions, but he respected the need for reporting that was accurate, thorough, and fair. There were times he might have preferred the paper to conform to his views on a particular town issue, but he rarely intervened, granting Press journalists the freedom to search for the truth and report it. He was intensely proud of the results, which led to the paper’s first New England Newspaper & Press Association reporting award in 2018 and national recognition in The Atlantic magazine the following year.
Worth’s chair at the southwest corner of our news desk is empty for now, a few Post-it notes, disconnected power cords, and a scattering of pens and office supplies the only remaining signs of his near-daily presence in the office. His departure is a heartbreaking setback, but it is not a defeat. Over the years the Press and town of Harvard have become entwined, co-dependent, despite the rise of social media and other sources of information and rumor. It’s hard to imagine our unique town meeting and community-driven government surviving for another century without a vibrant local paper. Last year, the Select Board recognized the paper’s role in town affairs by naming it the 2019 Citizen of Note.
Though we have lost our leader, those who remain—the reporters, photographers, editors, proofreaders, layout specialists, and other contributors behind each edition—are committed to keeping Worth’s vision and that of the paper’s co-founders alive, ensuring that on our watch, the paper remains the citizen of note our readers expect.
Rest in peace, Worth. We’ll take it from here.