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story.lead_photo.caption Michelle Brooks was named Central Missouri Newspapers' Employee of the Year for 2017. She is pictured here with Managing Editor Gary Castor, left, and General Manager Zach Ahrens, right. Photo by Julie Smith / California Democrat.

Michelle Brooks was named Central Missouri Newspapers' Employee of the Year for 2017.

Brooks is the editor of the California Democrat, a sister newspaper to the Jefferson City News Tribune and the Fulton Sun.

Brooks has a distinguished career with Central Missouri Newspapers. She began work at the Jefferson City News Tribune in 2000 as a reporter. During the course of her reporting career in Jefferson City, she covered community and school news, as well as subjects of faith, military/veterans and history. In each of these coverage areas, she immersed herself in the issues and discussions that helped define and inform the community's progress and struggles. Her dedication to reporting the news earned her numerous press association awards, as well as recognition from community groups.

Brooks' contributions to Central Missouri Newspapers go beyond the scope of a good beat reporter. In 2017, she accepted a role as interim editor at the California Democrat, coordinating the weekly newspaper's staff and contributing to its weekly editions with stories. In mid-2017, she accepted the role permanently as editor.

In her nomination for Employee of the Quarter, a fellow employee said: "Much has been asked of Michelle, and she has successfully done what is expected of her and then some. She splits her time between the News Tribune and the California Democrat and has stepped up to help the editorial staff of the Democrat in the absence of an editor. She has developed contacts with area schools and tries to cover them equally and frequently. She does this all while attending school at Lincoln University and all that that entails."

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