Six AP News Editors Now Responsible for More Territories

By: The Associated Press has named six news editors to oversee expanded multistate territories and has assigned four interim regional photo editors as part of a restructuring of U.S. news management to ensure the continuing strength of the news cooperative's state reports.

The six news editors, all current AP news editors, will each add oversight of one or more states. The photo editors, under the oversight of Assistant National Photo Editor Tom Stathis in Los Angeles, will take responsibility for photo coordination, photo consistency and quality for the four regions and the 50 state photo reports.

The moves keep AP state reports strong while addressing the need to cut costs, Senior Managing Editor Mike Oreskes said Friday.

"No news organization has a deeper commitment to state-by-state coverage of the United States," Oreskes said. "These appointments put strong news managers in charge of vital territories. Their job will be to bolster our state news reports, in text and photos, while also continuing to strengthen our coverage of the United States for all our members and customers."

These changes are part of the overall regionalization of AP's U.S. news operation, which has been decentralized to four regional hubs in the West, Central, South and East. Most editing is done in those hubs, giving news editors the flexibility to spend more time working with AP journalists in the field on planning and executing coverage.

-- Brian Farkas, news editor in West Virginia, adds oversight of Virginia. Farkas, 53, joined the AP in Charleston in 1998, and was promoted to West Virginia news editor later that year. He previously was the statehouse reporter for United Press International in West Virginia and worked at three newspapers in the state.

-- Amanda Kell, news editor for Maryland and Delaware, adds oversight of the Mid-Atlantic bureau in Washington, D.C. Kell, 41, joined the AP in 1991 in Richmond, Va., where she rose to night supervisor. She worked as broadcast editor for the AP in Maryland and Delaware before being named news editor in Baltimore in 2001.

-- Kelly Kissel, news editor for Arkansas, adds oversight of Oklahoma. Kissel, 50, has been Arkansas news editor since 1994. He began his AP career in New Orleans in 1984 and later held posts in Mississippi, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

-- Kevin O'Hanlon, news editor for Nebraska, becomes Great Plains news editor, adding oversight of North and South Dakota. O'Hanlon, 54, joined the AP in Dallas in 1995. He also worked in the Cincinnati bureau before being named AP Lincoln correspondent in 1998. He became Nebraska news editor in 2007. He has also worked for newspapers in Nebraska, South Dakota, Michigan and Ohio.

_Karen Testa, news editor for Massachusetts and Rhode Island, becomes New England news editor, adding oversight of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. Testa, 39, twice has served as news editor for Massachusetts and Rhode Island, from 1999-2002 and from 2007-present. Previously, she was correspondent in Springfield, Mo., and West Palm Beach, Fla.

_Teresa Wasson, news editor for Tennessee, adds oversight of Kentucky. Wasson, 52, joined the AP in Nashville in 2000 after working as executive editor of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal and as a news executive with Gannett Co. in Arlington, Va. She also worked at The Tennessean in Nashville and The Jackson (Tenn.) Sun. She was appointed news editor in Tennessee in 2008.

The assigned photo editors are Stephanie Mullen for the West region, Kii Sato for the Central region, Jackie Larma for the East and Mike Stewart for the South.

Mullen, based in San Francisco, joined the AP in 1995 in Los Angeles after working for Allsport Photography for seven years in London and Los Angeles.

Sato, based in Chicago, joined the AP in Columbus, Ohio, in 2001, after working as a staff photographer and director of photography at the Mobile (Ala.) Register.

Larma, based in Philadelphia, joined the AP in Jerusalem in 1991, with time in London before moving to Philadelphia as a staff photographer and, later, news editor for photos.

Stewart joined the AP in 2005, working in the Washington State Photo Center, after stints as a photographer and photo editor for the Arkansas Democrat, Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune, Albuquerque Journal and Polaris Images. He will be based in Washington.

In addition to these changes, the company has posted openings for key positions around the country.

The moves are part of a larger restructuring throughout the AP, as the company made cuts to reduce annual payroll costs by 10 percent. The company used attrition, buyouts and about 90 layoffs ? about 2 percent of the work force ? to reach that goal. An undisclosed number in other departments were cut earlier.

The not-for-profit news cooperative lowered its expenses to deal with a reduction in the fees it charges newspapers and broadcasters. The AP's revenue is expected to fall about 6 percent this year to $700 million.

The changes announced Friday are part of an effort to get the most out of news talent in a tight time, Oreskes said.


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