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Democrat welcomes three new employees


The Democrat has welcomed two new members of the newsroom and a new member of the advertising department.

Chris Howell has been hired as the new city reporter and Ryan Sheehan is the new education reporter. Both started within the last few weeks.

“Chris and Ryan both bring unique experiences to the Democrat newsroom and I’m looking forward to working with them,” Editor Nicole Cooke said. “I’m sure they will help us continue the tradition of providing quality news coverage of West Central Missouri for our readers.”

Howell has lived in Sedalia for four years but is originally from Texas where he got his start in broadcast television as a corporate television director for the JC Penney Corporate office in Plano. Chris later moved to Tyler and became a news journalist at KLTV. He moved on to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he worked as a mobile video journalist and stormchaser for News On 6. Howell then left broadcast news to produce videos at Brief Media, the world’s leading business-to-business veterinary journal.

“I am happy to return to journalism,” Howell said. “There is no more engaging career. I guess it gets in your blood.”

Howell will be covering Sedalia government, crime, business and various city departments. He also assists with general assignment and feature coverage. He can be contacted at chrish@sedaliademocrat.com or 660-530-0146.

Sheehan is a 2020 graduate of the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg where he received a bachelor’s in Digital Media Production with an emphasis in Digital Cinema. He worked for several years as a staff writer for the Muleskinner, UCM’s student-led newspaper, and was an intern for the Warrensburg Star-Journal. Sheehan also has experience as a production assistant on independent films and other productions along with being a camera operator for various university and community events.

“I always try to see two sides to a story, I believe that makes me a good fit for journalism,” Sheehan said.

Sheehan covers all things education in Sedalia and Pettis County, as well as providing county government news coverage. He also assists with general assignment and feature coverage. He can be reached at ryans@sedaliademocrat.com or 660-530-0144.

Diana Surface joined the Democrat’s advertising department as a sales representative in late January. She joins sales consultants Sierra Miller and Tom Martin.

“Please help me in welcoming Diana to the Democrat team. I’m excited to have her wit, expertise and shining personality moving forward and I’m confident our customers will too,” Advertising Manager Julie White said.

Surface has previous outside sales experience and leadership that is sure to suit her well with her new customers. She is most excited to get out and meet everyone in the Sedalia community.

“I look forward to meeting the advertisers and building a professional relationship with each of them,” Surface said.

Surface will help customers in West Sedalia with their print and digital advertising needs for the Sedalia Democrat and Plainsman. She can be reached at dianas@sedaliademocrat.com or 660-826-1000.