CINCINNATI - Barry M. Horstman, a longtime Cincinnati journalist, died unexpectedly Monday morning.
Horstman, 60, a reporter at The Enquirer, collapsed in the newsroom in front of some co-workers shortly after he arrived at work at 9 a.m., a colleague said.
A cause of death hasn't yet been determined.
Horstman was an investigative and projects reporter at The Enquirer. His most recent areas of coverage included Cincinnati's planned streetcar project and the city's troubled pension system.
"Barry was one of my favorite colleagues ever," said Enquirer editor Carolyn Washburn.
"He was damned smart. He was dogged. But he was sentimental and sweet, too," Washburn said. "He cared so much for his hometown; that's why he wanted everything to work the way it's supposed to. We will do our work in his honor."
Mike Philipps, a former editor at The Cincinnati Post and Horstman's supervisor for years, recalled his enthusiasm.
"Barry was just such a special guy," said Philipps, who is now president of the Scripps Howard Foundation. "He was a bundle of energy. He loved his hometown and he loved covering it. We hired him back a couple of times at The Post after he left. It's such a huge loss for Cincinnati."
Mayor Mark Mallory, a frequent subject of Horstman's articles, said he was stunned by the news.
"Barry Horstman was a true old-school journalist," Mallory said. "He asked the tough questions and expected thoughtful answers. But, he always came prepared, and that made an interview with him more of a conversation about an issue or current events. And his readers benefited from that hard work and understanding. He got the story and told it with the proper perspective to allow the reader to understand what was really going on."
The mayor added, "Barry's stories are going to be missed, but for those of us who knew him, this is a really tough day."
Before joining The Enquirer, Horstman was an assistant managing editor at The Las Vegas Sun. Prior to that he worked at the now defunct Cincinnati Post at various times over a 30-year period, leaving for stints at Scripps Howard's Washington, D.C. bureau from 1978-81; and covering San Diego for the Los Angeles Times from 1981-93.
Horstman left The Post for good in November 2005, as the newspaper reduced its staff in anticipation of a 2007 closing.
In 1999, a book – entitled "100 Who Made a Difference: Greater Cincinnatians Who Made a Mark on the 20th Century" – was published. It compiled 100 profiles of local newsmakers written by Horstman, who was an avid local history buff.
Born in 1952, Horstman grew up on Cincinnati's West Side. His father, Les, managed Glenmore Bowl in Cheviot for 15 years, then owned the business from 1975 to 2004.
Barry Horstman was raised in an apartment above the bowling alley, along with his three brothers. A graduate of Western Hills High School, he wrote a column for the school newspaper while he was a student, called "Straight From the Horstman's Mouth."
Besides his love for history and bowling, Horstman was a runner and enjoyed telling jokes – particularly off-color stories, friends said. He also enjoyed traveling to other nations and was a fan of several comedians including Jerry Seinfeld.
Horstman first worked for The Post as a weekend sports correspondent while in high school in the early 1970s, covering Western Hills High School's football and basketball teams. He joined the staff full-time a few years later.
In a 2007 article for CityBeat, Horstman recalled his first day as a full-time Post employee at its old offices in the 800 Broadway building.
"If you were in the newsroom when the printing press started down below, you would feel this gentle rumble to the building and, depending on where you were standing, smell ink wafting into the newsroom," he said
"It made me think I made the right career choice. I was in heaven."
A Mount Lookout resident, Horstman is survived by his wife, Sheila, a stepdaughter and several relatives. Funeral arrangements are pending.
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