Newsmakers

Promotions, staff additions at Texas newspapers.

KYLE COOKE
Rockdale Reporter
ROCKDALE – Another member of the Cooke family has joined the staff at the Rockdale Reporter.
Kyle Cooke has returned to his hometown to assume duties as general manager of the Reporter. 
Last year, Ken Esten Cooke and his wife Christine Granados took over as co-publishers of the Reporter, keeping the newspaper in the family for a fourth generation.
“We Cookes grew up in this industry, and Kyle has 25 years of newspaper experience to draw from for his return to Rockdale,” Ken Cooke said.
The son of publishers emeritus Bill and Peggy Cooke, Kyle Cooke was born and raised in Rockdale and is a 1982 RHS graduate. He studied journalism and English literature at Texas State University, San Marcos. He worked as an inside sales representative and supervisor for the Houston Post, Houston Business Journal, the Houston Chronicle and Greensheet.
“In this industry, people either come up on the ‘news side’ or the ‘sales side’,” Ken Cooke noted. “Kyle has news experience, but his strength is a passion for sales and helping business owners be successful with their marketing. Kyle has won many sales awards at other publications, and he will draw on his extensive sales experience to guide this newspaper and help it continue to fulfill its mission of being the go-to source for news and in-depth coverage of Rockdale and Milam County.”

BELINDA WHEELER MILLS
Amarillo Globe-News
AMARILLO – GateHouse Media, the owner of the Amarillo Globe-News, announced that Belinda Wheeler Mills, the publication’s current director of operations/advertising director, has assumed the title of general manager/advertising director.
Matt Guthrie, regional vice president of the southwest division of GateHouse Media, said the change in title reflects Mills’ dedication as well as the duties she has been performing for the past year.
Prior to joining the Globe-News, Mills spent just over two years based in El Centro, California, with offices across southern California and western Arizona. In El Centro, she was responsible for a daily newspaper, a weekly Spanish-language newspaper and a women’s magazine. The four other offices she supervised produced shopping publications. She has also worked in New Mexico, having served as a regional advertising director at the Las Cruces Sun-News.

SHONI WISEMAN
Lubbock Avalanche Journal
LUBBOCCK – Shoni Wiseman has been promoted to general manager of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
Wiseman continues to serve as advertising director, a position she was promoted to in July 2018. She began her career in advertising at the Avalanche-Journal more than 20 years ago.
As general manager, Wiseman is the newspaper’s point-of-contact for businesses and the community at-large. She continues to oversee advertising revenue, working with the advertising team to bring in new customers and keep existing ones through innovative promotional campaigns.
Wiseman is a Lubbock native who graduated from Monterey High School and Texas Tech. 

REBECCA JONES
Waxahachie Daily Light
WAXAHACHIE – The Midlothian Mirror and Waxahachie Daily Light have named Rebecca Jones as the new managing editor, an extension of her current role as creative director for Waxahachie Media Group.
Jones joins Waxahachie Media Group from Texoma Marketing and Media Group, a sister company within GateHouse Media, where she worked as a creative, events and promotions director. Wearing many hats at the organization, she also served as a designer and editor.
Under her leadership, the Sherman-based publishing company expanded its publications to include a summer magazine, monthly magazine and an annual magazine with more than 200 pages. Jones led the redesigning of all five of the company’s weekly and daily newspapers, which also expanded to include weekly real estate and entertainment sections.
Jones won the 2018 Best of GateHouse contest in feature design and most recently received a Redbud Award from the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association for her work on the 2019 Guide to Lake Texoma magazine.

CURTIS BURTON
Teague Chronicle
TEAGUE – Curtis Burton, a longtime mass media instructor and journalist, has joined the staff of the Teague Chronicle as news reporter.
He will primarily provide coverage for the Teague area while also assisting the Chronicle’s sister newspapers, The Fairfield Recorder and Groesbeck Journal. He recently moved to the area from Paducah.
Burton taught and worked in several capacities in the newspaper industry in the San Antonio area as well as in New Mexico. He came out of retirement to join the Chronicle.
Publisher Richard Nelson announced Burton’s appointment, noting that he succeeds Shelley Pope, who moved to the news editor position at the Groesbeck Journal.
Burton’s interest in media began when he first studied journalism at Paducah High School. He was editor of the student newspaper and worked at the weekly newspaper, where he learned operations of the back shop, building hot type pages and operating a Linotype. During his tenure in the newspaper business, he has seen transitions from hot type to offset printing to digital printing.
While a student at Texas Tech university, he worked as a reporter for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. He graduated in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in English and earned a master’s in mass communications in 1976.
He has worked as a reporter and editor for other newspapers, including the Las Cruces Sun-News and the Wilson County News.
As a teacher, he was faculty adviser for a number of high school newspapers.

TIM HERNANDEZ
Kerrville Daily Times
KERRVILLE – The Kerrville Daily Times’ new reporter is a former combat medic and accountant pursuing a new career in photography and writing.
Tim Hernandez was inspired to return to college when he went with his daughter on a college campus tour.
“I always wanted to learn how to operate a camera,” said Hernandez. “I went there and checked it out,  and by the end of the day, they had convinced me to take four classes.”
Hernandez earned a second bachelor’s degree in communication and journalism, graduating in May from Texas A&M University in San Antonio, where he has lived for several years and pursued his earlier career.
He served as a combat medic at Fort Hood for nearly four years. Afterward, he signed up for the National Guard and was deployed during the Persian Gulf War.
Returning to the U.S., Hernandez finished his first bachelor’s degree in accounting and later earned a master’s degree. He enjoyed a 22-year career in accounting before deciding to switch to journalism.
Hernandez earned a second bachelor’s degree in communication and journalism, graduating in May from Texas A&M University in San Antonio, where he has lived for several years and pursued his earlier career.
He served as a combat medic at Fort Hood for nearly four years. Afterward, he signed up for the National Guard and was deployed during the Persian Gulf War.
Returning to the U.S., Hernandez finished his first bachelor’s degree in accounting and later earned a master’s degree. He enjoyed a 22-year career in accounting before deciding to switch to journalism.

CYNTHIA DAVIS
The Clifton Record
CLIFTON – Cynthia Davis is the new managing editor of The Clifton Record, Publisher Toni Rowan announced.
Davis has experience in layout and design, writing and marketing. She has produced magazines, visitor guides, shopping guides, sports editions and many other special section projects. 
Rowan noted many changes are in store for the newspaper and said an open forum with readers is planned.

HELEN NOWICKI
Banner-Press
BRENHAM – Helen Nowicki, who has been serving as retail advertising manager of The Banner-Press, has been promoted to advertising director of the newspaper. 
She will now oversee the retail, classified and online advertising departments, as well as special promotions, according to Publisher Derek Hall, who announced the promotion.
Nowicki joined the Banner in 1998 as retail sales representative, then moved to the circulation department in 2000 before taking over the retail advertising department in 2002.

WESLEY GARDNER
Lockhart Post-Register
LOCKHART – Wesley Gardner is the new editor of the Lockhart Post-Register. 
He succeeds Miles Smith, editor since December 2017, who has assumed the newly created position of public information officer for the City of Lockhart. 
Gardner, a 2012 graduate of St. Edward’s University in Austin, began his reporting career in 2011 at the Austin American-Statesman as a sports intern, covering football, soccer, softball and baseball games. Gardner remained at the Statesman through 2014, working as a reporter and photographer at its weekly publication, The Bastrop Advertiser. He later worked at the Fort Bend Herald in Rosenberg, where his work included coverage of a highly visible bribery and extortion scandal in the Lamar school district.