Ashton named AP news editor for Arizona-New Mexico

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PHOENIX (AP) — Linda Ashton, news editor for The Associated Press in Utah and Montana, has been named AP’s news editor for Arizona and New Mexico.

The appointment was announced Monday by Michelle Williams, bureau chief for Arizona and New Mexico.

Ashton replaces Ed Montes, former news editor for Arizona, who was named regional sports editor for 13 Western states, and Mark Evans, former news editor for New Mexico, who is the legislative editor for AP’s West regional operations.

Ashton, 52, will oversee the news reports for Arizona and New Mexico under a reorganized two-state operation. While she will be based in Phoenix, she will travel regularly to New Mexico.

Ashton has been news editor in Utah since 2005, and added Montana to her responsibilities in 2008.

She joined the AP in New Orleans in 1987 and moved in 1990 to Spokane, Wash., where she helped cover the siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

She worked in AP’s Seattle bureau for three years before becoming the correspondent in Yakima, Wash., in 1998, covering waste cleanup at the Hanford nuclear reservation, as well as Indian and Hispanic issues and agriculture. She was named news editor for Alaska in 2003.

Ashton grew up in Portland, Ore. She has bachelor of science degrees in technical journalism from Oregon State University and in forest management from the University of Montana. She began her journalism career as a reporter at the Alexandria (La.) Daily Town Talk.