JACKSONVILLE — The Jacksonville Daily Progress welcomed a familiar face this week.
April Barbe took the reins as editor Thursday morning and settled into her new position immediately introducing herself to the community.
"Two men from Toys For Tots stopped by the office with a photo opportunity, and I attended the Kiwanis Club luncheon, as well," Barbe said Thursday afternoon.
Barbe is a 2005 Stephen F. Austin State University who hails from the Pollok area. She began her journalism career in 2001.
“We are very excited about having April join our team,” said Publisher Lange Svehlak. “She is familiar with our area and brings experience in community journalism. April shares the same vision of producing the best small town newspaper for our community, and I look forward to her helping us achieve our goals.”
Barbe first joined the Daily Progress in 2005 as the city reporter. At the time, Jacksonville faced several issues at the police department. Barbe covered the indictment and trial of former JPD Officer Larry Pugh, who faced charges of soliciting sex while on duty. She also investigated the leadership at the police department, which resulted in the resignation of then-Chief Mark Johnson.
"The last time I was here I was immediately thrown into a heap of police department issues," Barbe said. "However, that time allowed me the opportunity to earn the respect of many area officials."
Six months after her hire in 2005, she was promoted to assistant editor.
Barbe said she now hopes to focus on the community more as a whole.
"For me, this job is an opportunity to serve the community. I believe in covering the news, good and bad. I want Jacksonville residents to be proud of their hometown newspaper," Barbe said.
Barbe also worked at The Daily Sentinel in Nacogdoches from 2001 to 2005. She was one of the first reporters on the scene of the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy in 2003.
After leaving the Daily Progress in 2007, she spent four years as a page designer and copy editor with the Longview News-Journal. She returned to The Daily Sentinel in 2011 as a page designer for about a year, before taking a hiatus to work on writing and film projects.
As editor of The Daily Progress, Barbe said she has high expectations for her staff.
"Being a good editor is a balancing act. You have to manage your staff towards producing a good product. You also have to be a journalist and remember the reason behind your job -- to serve the community," Barbe said.
Barbe may be reached at email@example.com