Caitlin Whaley
Vice President of Strategic Communications

Caitlin Whaley joined Rural Missouri in 2023. She is originally from Warrensburg, and received a degree in communication from University of Missouri-Columbia. She assists with strategic planning and management of Rural Missouri. Before joining the magazine she ran communications and marketing for the Missouri Department of Social Services.

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. Jim has led the Rural Missouri staff to national recognition four times 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.

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 2022, and also handles freelance submissions.

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