- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - The Associated Press has hired several temporary reporters to help cover legislative sessions across the Western United States, and in Hawaii and Alaska. The hires are a reflection of the organization’s commitment to statehouse news, West regional editor Traci Carl said.

“Statehouse coverage is a cornerstone of the AP report, and I’m so pleased to announce the addition of a top-notch group of journalists,” she said.

Below are details on each hire in the West:

CALIFORNIA

Fenit Nirappil, a reporter for The Oregonian, has spent the past year covering several communities outside Portland. Prior to that, he worked for the San Francisco Business Times and was a 2012 intern in AP’s San Francisco bureau. Nirappil is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and was a reporter for Medill Watchdog, which investigates government ethics in Illinois. He starts Feb. 3 in Sacramento.

COLORADO

Donna Bryson, a longtime AP veteran, formerly served as chief of bureau in Johannesburg, deputy editor for Africa in London, Middle East news editor in Cairo, South Asia news editor in New Delhi and correspondent in Johannesburg. Most recently, Bryson worked as a freelancer for The Wall Street Journal on breaking news and enterprise for Colorado and the West. She has reported on the James Holmes theater shooting and trial; wildfires in Colorado and other western states; the 2013 Colorado floods; and the Arapahoe High School shooting in December. She rejoins the AP Monday in Denver.

WASHINGTON

Lisa Baumann was most recently a reporter for Patch websites in Washington state, covering local government, police, courts and other news. Baumann also helped recruit and manage freelance writers for the Patch sites and worked closely with colleagues on maximizing web traffic through use of stories, photos and other media. Prior to that, she was a general assignment and city government reporter for the Duluth News Tribune, and worked as a reporter and photographer for the Ravalli Republic, a small daily in Montana. She began Jan. 14 in Olympia.

ARIZONA

Astrid Galvan is a former law enforcement and higher education reporter at the Albuquerque Journal, and previously covered the Phoenix suburbs for The Arizona Republic. She is fluent in Spanish and can shoot both photos and video. Galvan, from El Paso, Texas, attended the University of Texas El Paso and Arizona State University and was a Chips Quinn Scholar and part of The New York Times Student Journalism Institute. She begins Feb. 3 in Phoenix.

OREGON

Chad Garland recently finished his master’s degree at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. For the last five months of 2013, he was a correspondent for Cronkite News Service, in Washington, D.C., where he covered defense, justice and health care. His articles have been published by The Arizona Republic, The Denver Post and others. In December, Garland wrote a two-part expose about financial advisers who take advantage of veterans by selling them unneeded services, make promises they can’t keep and help hide assets for veterans who may then be unable to access their own funds if they need them. Before moving to Cronkite’s Washington, D.C., office, Garland was an investigative reporter with the News21 Initiative, based at Arizona State University. While at News21, Garland investigated the struggles confronting veterans after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Garland is himself a veteran. He served in the Marines, where he learned to speak Russian. He begins Feb. 4 in Salem.

IDAHO

Katie Terhune was a breaking news reporter for the Idaho Statesman in Boise. Terhune worked for both the website and the newspaper, filing updates to crime, traffic and wildfire stories. She helped cover the search for Hannah Anderson, the California girl who was abducted and taken into the central Idaho wilderness. More recently she was on the scene of a fatal school bus crash outside Boise. Prior to that, she covered the police beat for a local website in Fort Worth, Texas, and was a reporting intern for the Houma Courier and Thibodaux Daily Comet in Louisiana and worked for a summer at the Galveston County Daily News in Texas. A recent graduate of Texas Christian University, Terhune also produced video and photos for the Statesman’s website and is well-versed in using social media and other computer tools for reporting. She started Jan. 7 in Boise.

ALASKA

Mike Coppock of Enid, Okla., has an extensive freelancing record with newspapers and magazines, and has been the managing editor of the weekly Valdez, Alaska, Vanguard newspaper until it was sold to the Valdez Star. Coppock also has experience as an educator, and has taught in the village of Tuluksak, Alaska. He has written two books about Alaska history, including a book for Mountain Press and stories for The History Channel Magazine. He began Tuesday in Juneau.

UTAH

Annie Knox returns as the temporary legislative relief reporter in Utah again this year, after serving as Utah legislative relief in 2013. She just completed a six-month temporary position as an education reporter at the Salt Lake Tribune. Knox graduated in May 2012 from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and worked as an intern at njspotlight.com and NJN Public Television in her native New Jersey. She returns to the AP Thursday in Salt Lake City.

HAWAII

Sam Eifling has been an editor and reporter at a variety of publications and last year spent three months investigating the ExxonMobil oil pipeline spill in central Arkansas for the Arkansas Times. He shoots video and photos, in addition to writing spot and long-form stories. His story on a competitive eater won a Society of Professional Journalists award in 2005 for feature writing. Eifling was a staff writer at the New Times Broward-Palm Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., features editor for ESPN Outdoors and assistant editor for Arkansas Business. He starts Jan. 29 in Honolulu.

LEGISLATIVE EDITOR

Alex Chihak has worked for a year and a half for Cox Media Group’s regional hub in West Palm Beach, Fla., editing stories and writing headlines for three newspapers in two states. Before that, he worked on copy desks at several newspapers, including one of the three he edits now. Chihak has a mix of experience improving leads and writing, editing stories for style and grammar, and fact-checking. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona. He starts Feb. 3 at the AP regional editing hub in Phoenix.

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