Jim McCarty


Jim McCarty joined Rural Missouri in 1985. A University of Missouri School of Journalism graduate, he has been honored by the Cooperative Communicators Association as “Writer of the Year” in 1994 and has received that organization’s coveted Michael Graznak young communicator award. Thrice, Jim has led the Rural Missouri staff to national recognition as the recipient of George W. Haggard Memorial Journalism Award from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Megan Backes

Creative Director

Megan Backes joined the Rural Missouri team in 2010. Originally from Pilot Grove, Megan received a degree of fine arts in graphic design from the University of Central Missouri. Megan is responsible for much of the magazine’s design and layout each month and assists with other aspects of the publication. She also helps fulfill orders from the Rural Missouri merchandise store.

Heather Berry

Associate Editor

Heather Berry left Gov. John Ashcroft’s press staff to join Rural Missouri in 1989. In addition to regular features, Heather produces our Hearth and Home page and is the alter-ego of Buddy Bear, Rural Missouri’s Just 4 Kids mascot. 

Mary Davis

Production Manager

Mary Davis joined Rural Missouri in 1990 after working for the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Mary is the liason with our printer, handles postal issues and oversees the budgeting process for Rural Missouri. She is responsible for all of the display advertising in Rural Missouri and also assists the entire staff with graphics.

Angie Jones-Wheeler

Design and Print Services Coordinator 

Angie Jones-Wheeler designs the cooperative local pages that appear inside Rural Missouri magazine. Originally from Eldon, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design from Drury University and joined the staff in 2007. She is also a designer for the AMEC printshop.

Paul Newton

Managing Editor

Paul Newton joined the staff in 2013. Originally from Galena, Ill., Paul received a degree a photojournalism from Western Kentucky University. Prior to Rural Missouri, Paul worked at The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale, Ill., from 2007-2013, as a staff photographer and later as the director of visuals.

Zach Smith

Field Editor

Zach Smith joined Rural Missouri in 2016. Originally from West Plains, Zach received a degree in film production from Webster University and a master’s in journalism from the University of Missouri. He has been honored by the Cooperative Communicators Association as “Writer of the Year” in 2018, and also handles freelance submissions.

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