Updates to AP’s U.S. News group

Nicole Meir | The Associated Press

In a memo to employees on Wednesday, U.S. News Director Josh Hoffner introduced a number of promotions and hires throughout the United States:

I’ve mentioned time and time once more how optimistic all of us ought to be about the place we’re entering into 2023 and past in U.S. News and on the AP as a complete. Today marks an necessary step on this course of as we announce a number of promotions and hires of journalists who will all play an necessary function in our success as a unified all-formats group within the U.S. that works in live performance to personal the most important tales of the day.

They embody assistant information administrators, project managers and video journalists, and there’s extra to come back within the subsequent few weeks in our subsequent batch of promotions and hires. Please be a part of me in congratulating all of those gifted journalists on their new roles.

Kathleen Ronayne is the assistant information director for California. She involves the function after greater than a decade of reporting on each coasts, together with 4 years overseeing AP’s state authorities protection in California. She additionally was on the nationwide elections group for 2 presidential campaigns. She reported extensively on the recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the historic Western drought and California’s agenda-setting environmental insurance policies.

Caleb Jones is the brand new assistant information director for New England (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine). Caleb is an all-formats journalist in each sense of the phrase, working as a photograph editor, video journalist and reporter in additional than a decade at AP and most lately serving to oversee video protection within the western half of the nation. We are excited for him to deliver his all-formats abilities to New England as he strikes to Boston within the spring.

Felicia Fonseca is the brand new assistant information director for the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada). Felicia began her profession as an AP intern 18 years in the past and went on to a stellar reporting profession that noticed her persistently ship high-level tales on Native American communities, wildfires and drought. She is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, was a Nieman fellow in 2017 and has served as a mentor to many younger journalists.

Brady McCombs is the assistant information director for the Rockies (Colorado, Utah, Montana and Wyoming). Brady has been the Rockies News Editor since 2020, overseeing protection of a number of main tales together with mass shootings at a homosexual nightclub in Colorado Springs and grocery store in Boulder and a wildfire that burned 1,100 houses exterior Denver. He has taken on a number of particular assignments over time, serving to coordinate protection of the pandemic by overseeing the nationwide spot group. He additionally shoots and produces video.

Jonathan Drew is the brand new assistant information director for the Mid-South (North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland). Jonathan is a veteran journalist who has had a hand in writing, enhancing or managing lots of the South’s largest tales for over a decade. For the previous 12 months, he’s managed the four-state Mid-Atlantic territory as performing information editor. Before that, the North Carolina native had led the state as administrative correspondent since 2019 after a number of years as a bureau reporter. Jonathan will stay based mostly in Raleigh.

Jim VanAnglen is the brand new assistant information director for the Deep South (Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas). Jim joined the AP in 2011 after stints at quite a lot of newspapers throughout the South and New England. At AP, he has led protection of the whole lot from the time beyond regulation 2020 Georgia election and subsequent Fulton County investigation of former President Donald Trump to a number of hurricanes, reminiscent of Ida and Laura, twister strikes and different pure disasters to instances of racial injustice, together with the killings of Alton Sterling, Rayshard Brooks and Ahmaud Arbery.

Jill Bleed is the brand new nationwide project supervisor for the early a part of the day. Jill joined the AP in 2006 as a reporter in Little Rock, Arkansas, and has performed a key function in breaking information protection there and in Oklahoma and Texas for greater than a decade. She has been concerned in numerous main tales since then, together with mass killings in El Paso and Uvalde. Jill has in depth expertise overlaying extreme climate, courts and crime, the demise penalty and elections. She will proceed to be based mostly in Little Rock.

Nebi Qena is the brand new weekend nationwide project supervisor. Nebi has been a senior producer for Israel, West Bank and Gaza since 2015 and has directed and coordinated protection of a variety of huge tales together with the Russian invasion of Ukraine final 12 months. He has lined battle in Syria and Kosovo as properly, and is understood for his calm beneath strain in these high-stress environments. Nebi is a terrific video supervisor, particularly in breaking information conditions, and we’re excited for him to hitch the U.S. operation. He will likely be based mostly in Washington, D.C.

Julie Wright is the brand new State Government Editor, the purpose individual for serving to statehouse reporters join the dots and in all-formats throughout the most important themes rising from state capitols nationwide. Julie joined the AP as Missouri/Kansas information editor in 2015. Prior to becoming a member of AP, she led groups for the World Company in Kansas, The Anchorage Daily News in Alaska and the Star Tribune in Minnesota.

Kendria LaFleur is our new video journalist in Dallas. Kendria joins the AP from WCPO in Cincinnati, the place she works as a multimedia journalist. She previously labored on the ABC affiliate in her hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana, the place she lined the whole lot from pure disasters to the demise of Alton Sterling. Kendria’s first day is Feb. 20.

Laura Bargfeld is our new video journalist in Tampa. Laura graduated in December 2022 with a grasp’s diploma in mass communication from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. While there, they labored as a graduate fellow for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Southwest Health Reporting Initiative, telling tales in all codecs about well being disparities within the southwestern U.S. Their first day is March 6.

Nick Ingram is our new video journalist in Missouri. Nick involves the AP from the ABC affiliate in St. Joseph, Missouri, exterior Kansas City, the place has labored as a reporter and digital content material supervisor. He can also be a licensed drone pilot. Nick will likely be based mostly in Kansas City, and his first day is Feb. 27.

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