The unexpected death of editor and journalist Robert Hankins left the staff at The Record Newspapers both deeply saddened and scrambling to keep up with the day-to-day workings of the next edition. With the help of many community friends and freelance writers, papers were successfully printed. In a sudden twist of fate, a new editor was found. Nicole Gibbs has been welcomed into the open journalistic position.

Gibbs grew up in Dripping Springs but moved to both Montana and Oklahoma for short stints. She graduated from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) in Chickasha, Okla. in Dec. 2005. At USAO, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with an emphasis on Photo Journalism. She did mention an award received in college by modestly admitting, “I received a second place for feature photo from the Oklahoma Collegiate Press Association.” She then spent three years working for The Marlow Review, a weekly newspaper in Marlow, Okla. Her experience also touts many years as a freelance photographer.

The Gibbs family moved back to Texas and settled in Orange at the beginning of 2009.
Experience leads to many lessons learned in the workplace. When thinking of newspaper work, Gibbs says, “Your day doesn’t end when you leave the office. Working at a newspaper means you’re always on-call. Sometimes your personal life gets put on hold so you can do your job.”
Balancing the personal and professional fields has come with some new challenges for Gibbs in 2007 when she married Dustin Gibbs and again in Dec. 2009 when they welcomed their first child, Eryk. Dustin, her husband, is currently an employee at Akrotex Films.

Being a new mother has given her a fresh perspective and a deeper insight into the interpersonal communications needed in an office environment. “Really, there will always be temper tantrums, even by adults, and all you can do is walk away for a minute,” says Gibbs. Handling stress becomes a workers first line of defense in these situations, and she adds,

“You have to be able to handle stress when working at a newspaper can be very stressful.”

She does work well within the pace of community-based publications and though deadlines can be daunting, she says, “That’s the only way the media works. We always have a deadline. I just have a little extra time to perfect my story with the smaller hometown papers.”
She enjoys working on life stories and stated, “Everyone has a story and they are usually more inspirational and enlightening than only ‘hard’ news stories.” Gibbs also admits that hometown stories can often be found in unusual places or by the sheer force of circumstance.

Her professional skills developed through a love for writing and she says, “Well, I am a nosey person, I admit it. I love to know things and what better field is there to be nosey than journalism. I always tell people that I was educated in being nosey.” Her adeptness at being nosey and digging down to the heart of a good hometown story makes her an asset to The County Record and The Penny Record.

Gibbs is a goal oriented worker with a jovial personality and a strong work ethic. She is a good fit with the other employees and works diligently on all assignments. She appears to be pleased with her new position and says, “It’s an honor to work for The Record Newspapers. I would love to see the distribution of this paper go beyond just Orange County. I would love to see this newspaper win awards for our stories, photography and design.”