The Palestine Herald-Press added a new member to its roster this week.
Cherokee County resident Cristin Reece joined the PHP editorial team Monday. The 35-year-old has lived in Rusk since 1986, graduated from Rusk High School in 1995 and began her “official” print journalism career at the Herald’s sister paper, the Jacksonville Daily Progress, in 2000.
“I’ve got printer’s ink for blood,” Reece said. “I wrote for and eventually became editor of my high school’s newspaper — if you count that, I’ve been in the media business since 1992.”
Reece also worked in the radio and television markets in Tyler while earning an associate’s degree in mass communication from Tyler Junior College.
In addition to her stints at the Daily Progress, Reece’s print media resume includes reporting and editing for the Athens Daily Review and the Tri-City News, the Grapeland Messenger, the now-defunct BOLO magazine and has done some freelance work for the Herald-Press, the Farm and Ranch News, the Cherokeean Herald and the Diboll Free Press. She is also the former public information officer of the City of Rusk.
“We are extremely fortunate to have a journalist of Cristin’s experience and caliber join our news staff,” Herald-Press Editor Angie Alvarado said.
“Cristin has an advantage in the fact that she is familiar with East Texas by having worked at some of our sister papers,” Alvarado added. “She has done a great job for us in the past as a free-lance writer and also helped us cover the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.
“I feel confident that she will be a tremendous asset to our newspaper and community. Her passion for news and outgoing personality will keep her very busy here.”
Some of the more memorable events she’s covered include the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and her high school journalism teacher’s child pornography trial.
“I’ve covered everything from disease, disasters and murders to 190-pound watermelons, the memorabilia in District Judge Bascom Bentley’s offices and the goofy East Texas weather,” Reece said. “That’s the absolute best thing about my job — you never know just what’s going to walk through the door from one day to the next.
“I’m excited to be here and ready to see what Palestine and Anderson County has in store.”
One of the things Reece said she’s most proud of accomplishing as a reporter is the Texas Department of Transportation’s decision to improve a particularly dangerous portion of U.S. Highway 69 in Cherokee County, known locally as 7-Mile Hill.
“It was an extremely treacherous span of the highway — on a hill with a couple of pretty sharp turns,” she explained. “I was reporting crashes and even fatalities there all the time, especially in rainy weather.
“I don’t know, really, if my relentless coverage helped spur the improvements the state finally made, but I like to think it sped the decision-making process along,” she continued. “I do know that since TxDOT made the improvements (which included a better road surface, a barrier between north and south-bound traffic and lighting) there hasn’t been a fatality there since.”
She and her husband, Chuck Reece, live in Rusk with two rotten cats.