The Herald Democrat will soon have a familiar face returning to lead its newsroom and editorial team.

Texoma Marketing and Media Group — which publishes the Herald Democrat, four weeklies, and three magazines, among other publications — recently announced Texoma native Adrian O’Hanlon III has been hired as its new executive editor. O’Hanlon, who previously served as a sports writer for the newspaper from 2014-2015, will be taking over for outgoing Executive Editor and Associate Publisher Jonathan Cannon, who is leaving the publication after nearly a decade.

“It is definitely a homecoming of sorts and that was definitely enticing to me when the opportunity presented itself,” O’Hanlon said.

O’Hanlon graduated from Gunter High School in 2008 and then attended Texas A&M University, where he graduated in the school’s Agricultural Communications and Journalism Program. While pursuing his master’s degree at the University of North Texas, O’Hanlon began working as a sports writer for the Herald Democrat. After leaving the Herald Democrat in 2015, O’Hanlon joined the McAlester News-Capital as its sports editor.

O’Hanlon continued as a sports editor for the publication until July 2017, when he was promoted to news editor. Over the past year, the newsroom of the News-Capital has been recognized for its news coverage. The paper won first place for its elections coverage at the 2018 Society of Professional Journalists Oklahoma Awards.

O’Hanlon personally won first place in sports reporting and was recognized for his in-depth reporting of a well explosion in Quinton, Oklahoma, this year. The explosion has since been recognized as the deadliest workplace incident since the Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2011.

“Having spent several months searching nationally for candidates, the decision to use a local talent was a no-brainer,” TMMG Senior Group Publisher Nate Rodriguez said. “I think the fact that Adrian has worked at several newspapers within a three-hour radius of us in executive roles will help him get reacclimated to the Texoma market.”

With regard to the new position with the Herald Democrat, O’Hanlon said he would like to focus on social media and video as new ways to reach audiences, among other ideas he has for the publication.

“I feel there are a lot of tools we can use to reach people in a more efficient manner,” he said. “I feel like the Herald Democrat is and continues to be a beacon and a shining light in the area.”

Cannon started at the Herald Democrat as a reporter in 2009, following a stint as an intern in 2008. Following the resignation of longtime editor Don Eldredge, Cannon was named editor of the newspaper in 2013. Cannon was promoted to executive editor in 2016 and took over management of TMMG’s weekly publications, as well as the annual Best of Texoma magazine. In 2017, a Saturday publication was created that included HDHomes and The WeekEnd, while Lake Texoma Life was remodeled as a magazine. The high-end society publication Grayson Magazine launched in 2018, as did the weekly Bryan County News and Cannon was promoted to associate publisher at TMMG in March. TMMG then produced its first 40 Under Forty event and publication in October.

“I was very blessed to have inherited Jonathan as the executive editor of the Herald Democrat when I arrived almost three years ago,” Rodriguez said. “He continued to lead our news operation to greatness as we expanded, but personally he has grown so much. I am sad to be losing my right hand and my friend. He will be leaving a huge gap in our executive leadership team, our Herald Democrat family and the communities in Grayson, Collin and Bryan County, Oklahoma.”

Cannon announced his plans to leave the Herald Democrat to staff earlier this fall as part of a move to the Oklahoma City area with his family. Cannon added that he plans to continue to assist O’Hanlon and the staff during the leadership transition.

“I believe Adrian will be a good fit for the community, the publications and existing staff,” Cannon said. “He comes to the job with experience in the community and a passion that I believe will help him in the job.”

Cannon said he is proud of many of his accomplishments while serving the Texoma community, but said his greatest accomplishment was recruiting the newspaper’s news team.

“I am proud of the things we’ve accomplished in the newsroom, and I feel like I am leaving things in good hands — not only with Adrian, but with the existing senior staff and existing reporters,” Cannon said. “I think the community is lucky to have a group of people who care as much as they do about providing quality local news.”

Cannon also expressed thanks to the community for the support he received during his time as a reporter and editor at the publication.