Sunday, April 26, 2015




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Meet the team

Editors

Chris Cobler
Chris Cobler
Editor-in-Chief

"I try to treat each day as editor of the Advocate as a gift. I thank the newspaper's owners, my co-workers and my community for their faith in me to do a job I consider central to society. While embracing the exciting opportunities presented by new media, I believe newspapers' future, whether in print or online, rests with the old-fashioned values of serving your community, creating meaningful connections, and trying to make a difference in our readers' lives.

We're all family, after all. A newspaper should be that close friend who cheers your successes, cries over your losses, and prods you to be better than you ever thought possible."
Read more about Chris here


Becky Cooper
Managing Editor for Content

“I like working at the Advocate because every day is different. I like being able to tell the stories of our community from fun light-hearted stories to sad life-changing stories to hard hitting-investigative reports every day for our readers to enjoy.

In my 30 years with the Advocate, no two days have been the same, which keeps my interest in my work fresh. Working with the staff to develop the stories and try new ways of presenting the news in print and online also keeps the job fresh. I enjoy picking up the paper in the morning or clicking on the online paper and seeing the work our talented staff has done to educate and entertain our readers."
Read more about Becky here


Charles Apple
Charles Apple
Managing Editor for Visuals

“I don’t just cover the news or tell stories — I get to deal with the visual part of stories. On most days, it’s the fun part of our business. On some days, I get to find new ways to tell stories. And that’s the most fun of all."
Read more about Charles here


Tony Balandran
Tony Balandran
City Editor

"For almost 170 years, generations of Victoria readers have trusted the Victoria Advocate to be their key source of information about the region. They have turned to the pages of the newspaper to learn about the world surrounding them during good times and bad. For that reason, the Advocate is part of the region's history, and I am honored to be a part of that long journalism tradition that began in 1846. I owe it to Crossroads readers and to my long line of newsroom predecessors to make sure that the stories we print in the Advocate are fair, accurate and timely."
Read more about Tony here


JR Ortega
JR Ortega
Copy Desk Chief

"I've worked in many capacities at the Victoria Advocate over the past almost six years, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. From being a reporter, to then being features editor and eventually delivery desk chief, the Advocate continues challenging me every day to be better than I believe I am. One of the best aspects of this job is hearing feedback from our community about how the newspaper is working in their lives - money can't buy that kind of feedback. Leading the delivery desk, which is made up of copy editors/designers, I've learned so much about copy editing and making writing tighter and better. As bad as it may sound, I enjoy finding errors prior to publication because it makes me feel like we're working that much harder and truly making the paper the best it can be."
Read more about JR here


Jennifer Preyss
Jennifer Preyss
Features Editor/GC Magazine Editor-in-Chief

"When I landed at the Advocate five years ago, I didn't expect to become so endeared to this paper. It's a newsroom like no other, one that allows journalists to freely pursue topics that interest them. We hear "Yes" around here more than we hear "No," which may be the reason a large number of reporters and editors, graphic designers and photographers from near and far want to work here -- there's freedom to explore the world and pen great stories. One of the most significant "Yes" moments I experienced here was in 2013, when my editors allowed me to travel to India for a month, so I could write about international religion and the blending of Western and Eastern cultures. But I've had the opportunity to accomplish many professional goals while working for the Advocate and I know I'm blessed to be part of this magical team. It truly is one of the best community newspapers in the nation.

I've always said that being a journalist is like having an all-access VIP badge to private details of people's lives. Somehow, being a member of the media allows us the rare gift of being able to ask the most intimate and personal questions to strangers and know there's an honest answer on the other end of the question. It's an honor and a privilege to be the person who gets to facilitate those special interviews and be trusted to write a story that makes a difference in the community. More recently, I've loved being part of the GC magazine team, overseeing many significant changes in its presentation and content as we push forward to a new era of GC. We are aiming to create a city magazine the Crossroads can be proud of, and dying to read each month. I believe are achieving that goal each month."
Read more about Jennifer here


Jessica Rodrigo
Jessica Rodrigo
Business Editor

"Every day at the Advocate is different. I might have my own desk and computer, but one day I could visit a cotton gin for a story about the work and the next day I might follow shoppers during the madness that is Black Friday. It's always an adventure. My favorite part about working at a paper is meeting people who make up the community. Reading emails and comments from readers after they've seen their photos in the paper or read a story about someone they know is rewarding - even if the messages aren't always positive."
Read more about Jessica here


Reporters

Carolina Astrain
Carolina Astrain
Education Reporter

"I like working at the Advocate because of the free coffee and diversity within the newsroom staff. My favorite parts of my job include visiting with students on campus and talking to parents and teachers about what they would like to see from their local school district and colleges."
Read more about Carolina here


Melissa Crowe
Melissa Crowe
Local Government Reporter

"Working at the Advocate allows me to follow the news 24/7 in an over-caffeinated, high-energy environment. And I get to see Mike Forman every day."
Read more about Melissa here


Laura Garcia
Nonprofits/Health Reporter

"I love meeting people and telling their stories. Just finding people who genuinely care about the community and are passionate about what they do is what makes the long, crazy hours worth it."
Read more about Laura here


Bianca Montes
Bianca Montes
Public Safety/Jackson County Reporter

"Victoria is a growing city with small town heart. Because of that, I get to work on a story about one of many beautiful characters of the Crossroads one day and a story that has effects both locally and nationally the next."
Read more about Bianca here


Jessica Priest
Jessica Priest
Courts Reporter/Watchdog Columnist

"I am fascinated by our judiciary and enjoy learning about and explaining its processes to our readers. I am passionate about holding those in public office accountable and giving a voice to marginalized people."
Read more about Jessica here


Johnathan Silver
Johnathan Silver
Politics Reporter

"It's different. I'm from Fort Worth, and everything here in Victoria's different. I enjoy starting over by moving, joining the company and establishing new relationships. No day is like the last, which brings joy and sorrow. I do it all for the people."
Read more about Johnathan here


Sara Sneath
Sara Sneath
Environmental Reporter

"Unlike many of my peers in the business, I get to meet most of the people I talk to face-to-face on oyster boats, helicopters and muddy rice fields. But the most rewarding aspect of my job is that I get to go home every night knowing that my work benefits my community."
Read more about Sara here


Sports

Taylor Mitchell
Taylor Mitchell
Sports Editor


Read more about Taylor here


Alexandria Alejandro
Alexandria Alejandro
Assistant Sports Editor

"Why do I like my job? I watch sports for a living --- what other answer is there? As for working at the Advocate — There's plenty: The ping-pong table in the break room; cake days; Taylor Mitchell going at the punching bag on his desk; cool sports assignments; and most of all, working for and with people who care about our community.”
Read more about Alexandria here


Mike Forman
Mike Forman
Reporter

"I enjoy covering events and keeping our readers informed about what's going on in area sports."
Read more about Mike here


Antonio Morales
Reporter

"I like writing about sports, because sports is something I’ve been interested in since my youth. I also like finding out about people’s stories, everybody has one, and their background too, and writing about sports allows me to do that."
Read more about Antonio here


Photographers

Frank Tilley
Frank Tilley

"For me photojournalism embodies the elements of visual story telling that draws on the unique experiences that we report on. As a photographer I'm personal witness to moments of human life that range from great joy to deep sadness which I in turn share with our readers with the hope that we can make this world a better place today than it was yesterday."
Read more about Frank here


Web team

Jordan Rubio
Jordan Rubio
Digital Editor

"My favorite part of my job is adding in digital elements to stories, and coming up with digital presentations. This adds a new level of information and engagement to a story that would otherwise not be there."
Read more about Jordan here

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