From staff reports

Two editors with a strong background in community journalism have joined the staff of the Killeen Daily Herald.

Metro editor Jacob Brooks will oversee the Herald's three weekly publications — The Fort Hood Herald, Cove Herald and Harker Heights Herald and the effort to expand news coverage in outlying areas.

Kristi Parker Johnson is the new editor of the Harker Heights Herald.

Both are part of an effort to expand coverage throughout Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties.

Brooks comes to Killeen from Williston, N.D., where he was managing editor of the Williston Herald. During his 10-year career, he also had stops at the Bogalusa Daily News, Bogalusa, La.; St. Tammany News, Covington, La; and Kodiak Daily Mirror, Kodiak, Alaska.

He also had a stop at Fort Hood, where he was an armored crewman in the Army in the 1990s.

Most of Brooks' family lives in Louisiana while his wife, Brandy, has family in the Florence area. They have a 1-year-old daughter, Daisy, and reside in Florence.

Johnson came to this area when she married her husband, Chuck, a project manager for the Scott & White Health System. She was freelancing for newspapers in Round Rock and Pflugerville before coming to the Herald.

Like Brooks, she has a strong background in community newspapers. She was editor of the Burleson Star, Burleson, and the Alvarado Star, Alvarado; features editor of the Cleberne Times-Review, Cleburne; owner and publisher of a startup newspaper, The Tri-Canyon Echo; and was a staff writer/columnist for the Houston County Courier in Crockett.

Johnson, mother of four grown children, also owned a coffee house and managed another in Colorado.

Recently, the Killeen Daily Herald promoted Rose L. Thayer to the position of military editor/Fort Hood Herald editor.

Thayer, who joined the Herald in February 2011 as a military and features reporter, previously worked at the West Austin News, and also was a production editor for

She is a 2007 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

In addition, the Herald hired Mason Lerner as its new business editor, in the interest of providing expanded business coverage. Lerner's background includes freelancing on business news for the Houston Chronicle.

The Herald also recently expanded its news-gathering staff with the addition of city reporter Brandon Janes.

Janes came to the Herald from a similar position at the Port Arthur News. He also has worked at the Uvalde Leader News.

Terry Gandy, vice president and general manager of the Herald, said the staff additions are part of an effort to provide a strong emphasis on local news through the daily newspaper and its weeklies.

"All of these new people know the importance of community news," Gandy said. "We have been fortunate to have recruited some fine community journalists."

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