Columbia Daily Tribune editor George Mazurak served as a mentor and pushed for fairness and the utmost effort from reporters he worked with.
Mr. Mazurak, 56, died from complications of an illness Saturday morning.
Mr. Mazurak was the assistant city editor for the paper and worked there for several years. He was seen as a professional and respected by his peers, publisher Vicki Russell said.
Russell and her husband, Hank Waters, also a publisher, both worked with Mr. Mazurak. Russell worked at the Fulton Sun in the early 1980s when Mazurak got his first job as a journalist, and Waters worked with him at the Tribune a year later.
"He worked very hard and showed his skills," Russell said.
Mazurak worked as the police and courts reporter at the Tribune, where he built a good reputation, former co-worker Jason Rosenbaum said.
Rosenbaum worked under Mr. Mazurak when he was an intern and during his time as a reporter from 2005 to 2008.
"He taught me a tremendous amount about journalism and reporting," Rosenbaum said.
Rosenbaum often worked late weekend shifts with Mr. Mazurak. When not much was going on, the two would talk. Rosenbaum said he learned a lot about journalism from talking to Mr. Mazurak's about his past experiences.
"He had a good sense of humor, but he was very professional and devoted to the craft," he said.
One time, during the 2005 Boone County Fair, Rosenbaum was working on a story about a young girl who donated proceeds from selling her ham to an Ashland man who had cancer. The ham ended up bringing in almost $6,000.
Rosenbaum wasn't able to get a hold of the man, but Mr. Mazurak kept pushing for him to contact the man's wife for the story. Rosenbaum ended up breaking the news of the benefit to her. She broke down in tears of joy.
That extra effort was something Mr. Mazurak taught Rosenbaum.
"He made an impact by inspiring other people to do better, and that's an immensely great thing to take away from somebody," he said.