Recent staff changes, additions announced at Texas newspapers.
The Ennis News
Nikki Cohan has assumed the role of general manager with The Ennis News.
She succeeds former general manager and editor Justin Tubbs, who resigned to take a managing editor position at a daily community newspaper in Colorado. Tubbs had been with the company since September 2014 and had served as GM/editor since September 2017.
Cohan has been with The Ennis News for the majority of the last 12 years and has served the newspaper in a number of different leadership and management roles, including circulation manager, mail room supervisor and, most recently, bookkeeper and office manager.
“I’ve worked ‘behind the scenes’ in just about every department here at The Ennis News,” Cohan said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity and excited about stepping up into this position. We have an amazing staff in place, and I know they are as eager as I am to continue to provide our readers and advertisers with a quality hometown newspaper.”
Cohan is originally from Albany, Georgia. She moved to Ennis from Arkansas in 2004 with her husband Chris. They have raised their three sons – aged 17, 16 and 15 – in Ennis and have sent them to Ennis ISD schools.
The goal for The Ennis News remains the same, Cohan said. She wants to see the newspaper serve and be a part of the community.
HUNTSVILLE – Michael Graczyk, who witnessed more than 400 executions as an Associated Press reporter in Texas, has retired after nearly 46 years with the news service.
On March 14, 1984, Texas executed James Autry — the second person put to death in Texas after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the state’s capital punishment statute in 1976. It was the first of at least 429 executions Graczyk witnessed. He is believed to have witnessed more executions in the U.S. than any other person: no other reporter or corrections official in Texas has seen as many executions, and no other state has executed even one-third as many prisoners.
In his 34 years observing executions, Graczyk said he was committed to telling the full story behind the case, interviewing death-row prisoners if they were willing, and speaking to victims’ families, lawyers and prison officials.
Graczyk’s retirement on July 31 did not mark the end of the line for his execution coverage. He will continue to cover Texas executions for the AP as a freelance reporter.
Kerrville Daily Times
KERRVILLE – Donna Provencher has joined the Kerrville Daily Times staff as reporter for the education and health beats.
She joined KDT after temporary work with the San Antonio Express-News as a columnist and op-ed writer.
Before coming to Kerrville, she also taught high school English, worked as a behavioral specialist and foster care caseworker, and transcribed archives for the Department of Homeland Security before taking a job at a newspaper in Watertown, NY. Provencher, who has a graduate degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., got a job with the Watertown Daily Times in 2016, starting out as a night copy editor and weekend social media manager. She was later given a column and did some reporting.
She moved to Texas to be closer to her fiancé’s family and is currently living in Boerne.
Mount Pleasant Tribune
MOUNT PLEASANT – Maria Moya is the new office manager for the Mount Pleasant Tribune.
Publisher Mark Henry announced the appointment.
The local native and graduate of Mount Pleasant High School says she looks forward to interacting with Tribune clients.
“I am excited to join the staff of my hometown newspaper,” said Moya. “The Tribune has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. It is very rewarding to serve the community in which I grew up and plan to raise my children.”
The Henderson News
HENDERSON – Lana Porter, a resident of Mount Enterprise for 36 years, has joined the media sales executive staff at The Henderson News.
She previously worked in retail sales and management prior to 13 years of teaching in elementary school.
She and her husband, Wesley Porter own Texas Oilfield Transportation, which serves south and west Texas. They have a daughter, Baily, who is a junior at Mount Enterprise High School.
“I believe that Lana will be a great asset to our customers and our company. She has tremendous customer service skills and takes great pride in her work,” said Dan Moore, publisher and editor.
Houston County Courier
CROCKETT – Megan Whitworth has assumed duties as editor of the Houston County Courier.
Manager Toni Browning, who served as interim editor for the past 10 months, said she is confident in Whitworth’s abilities to handle the Courier’s news coverage.
Whitworth had served as a reporter and photographer for the Polk County Enterprise for the past five months. She also served as editor of the San Jacinto News-Times for nearly a year. In addition, she assisted in designing the Courier pages as needed before her appointment as editor. The three newspapers are part of Polk County Publishing, headquartered in Livingston.
Wood County Monitor
MINEOLA – The Wood County Monitor recently welcomed new staff members in the Quitman and Mineola offices.
Hank Murphy is the new editor in Mineola, working with publisher Joyce Hathcock and marketing executive Carl Covington.
Zak Wellerman, a Hallsville native, is the Quitman editor, joining marketing executive Brandi Box and office manager Brandi Hood at the office there.
Larry Tucker moves to the managing editor’s post and will also be the new county sports editor.
The appointments were announced by Bluebonnet Publishing owner Bill Woodall.
Murphy, a Wisconsin native, brings more than 30 years of reporting and editing experience. He landed his first newspaper job at the Big Spring Herald in 1985 and a year later moved to The Odessa American. He joined the staff at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in 1989 and worked there until 2004, when he moved back to Wisconsin and purchased a community weekly paper, the Florence Mining News. Six years later, he bought The Forest Republican. He sold his papers in late 2016 and returned to Texas in 2017, living in San Antonio.
“Hank brings a remarkable resume that includes a wealth of experience as an editor at a major West Texas daily and as owner and editor at weeklies,” Woodall said.
Wellerman, a graduate Hallsville High School, received a bachelor of arts degree in mass communication from University of Texas at Tyler at 2017. He was the editor-in-chief of the Patriot Talon, UT-Tyler newspaper. He has been serving as the editor of the Dunn County Herald in North Dakota since last year. Wellerman said he is glad to be back in East Texas.
Another change announced by Woodall was a reassignment for news editor and former Wood County Democrat editor Larry Tucker. “With his experience, Larry will manage our news operations and continue to cover some news beats, but he’s most excited about being the new county sports editor,” Woodall said.
TAYLOR – Taylor Press recently welcomed two new members to the newspaper’s sales team.
Leslie Lyle and Kristina Weise joined the team as associate publisher and sales associate, respectively.
Lyle comes to Taylor from Waxahachie with experience at Texas newspapers from Gonzales to Midland. She is new to Taylor but not new to Granite Publications. She started her newspaper career as ad manager for the Gonzales Inquirer.
Lyle calls herself a “professional marketer” and operates her own media company specializing as a print and digital publisher, direct-mail specialist, data broker, photographer, website developer and email specialist.
“I have a rock-solid belief in the power of the press, and especially the need for the community newspaper,” she said. “The newspaper informs you about the place you live and how your tax dollars are spent. It is essential to support and read your community newspaper.”
Weise is a product of Taylor and is a 2002 graduate of Taylor High School. “I love Taylor,” she said. “The area that I serve is like my home base of shopping and hanging out. I am so excited about the Downtown Taylor growth and I look forward to all that is to come.”
Weise is active in the community, working with the Main Street Intermediate PTO for almost five years and in other volunteer roles.
While Weise and her husband are frequent downtown shoppers, this is her first time in a sales role for a newspaper.
The appointments were announced by Editor and Publisher Richard Stone.
AZLE – Maggie Fraser is the new reporter for the Azle News.
A Fort Worth native, Fraser studied at Texas Christian University, where she worked for the school’s newspaper, The Daily Skiff, and its corresponding website, tcu360.com.
She graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in film, television and digital media. She began her professional journalism career in 2013 as the editor of the Wood County Democrat, a weekly newspaper based in Quitman near Lake Fork.
She then served as the editor for the weekly Shiner Gazette in 2014 and 2015 before returning to her North Texas roots at the Weatherford Democrat as a reporter. There, she covered county government, politics, infrastructure, transportation and other topics for two and a half years.
“Maggie is a veteran reporter whose background and skills make her a great fit here,” Editor Mark K. Campbell said.
The New Stamford American
STAMFORD – Holly Bearden is the new editor of the The New Stamford American.
Born and raised in Stamford, the 2011 Stamford High School graduate attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where she earned a bachelor degree in communication studies with a minor in advertising in 2014 and a master’s degree in media and communication in 2016.
During her time at Texas Tech, Bearden correlated research on advertising campaigns and social media. She also taught pre-kindergarten at a private school and church in Lubbock. She recently returned to her hometown after working in social media marketing for a firm in Fort Worth.
In addition to serving as editor, she will handle advertising and social media for the newspaper.
ELGIN – There are new faces on the Elgin Courier staff.
Scott Rucker joined the Courier’s marketing and advertising department after five and a half years with the Taylor Press. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity and challenge here,” Rucker said. “Honesty, integrity and professionalism are all essential parts in building strong relationships with customers and community and these are things I take pride in accomplishing for everyone I work with.”
A recent journalism graduate of the University of Texas, Julianne Hodges covers city council and other community events for the Courier. Originally from Clifton, she worked for the UT student newspaper, The Daily Texan, for two years as a science reporter and editor of the science and technology department. Managing Editor Lauren Jette said Hodges “will be a great addition to our editorial department.”
Kim Brakhage takes over office management duties full time after helping out part-time since the beginning of the year. Originally from Los Angeles, Brakhage moved to Elgin to be closer to family.
Interim Publisher Jim Beaver announced the appointments.