Hall County’s new public information officer Nikki Young worked her first day Monday, but she is no newcomer to Hall County government.
Young worked at The Times, covering Hall County government from 2004 to 2006, and has a rapport with many of the current Hall County employees.
"It helps to already have those relationships," Young said.
Young said the primary responsibility of a public information officer is to inform residents and media about their local government.
She said she is also looking forward to re-energizing a position that has been dormant for some time.
Former Hall County public information officer Barry Wood died July 14 after battling lung cancer for several months.
"With Barry being sick for so long, it’s kind of fallen by the wayside," Young said. "I just think there’s a lot of opportunity for ways that we can get information out to the public that we haven’t exploited in a while. I would like to see us do more with the position."
She said one of her goals is to upgrade local television station TV18.
She also will be managing Hall County’s Web site.
Young hopes to be as helpful to others as the late Wood was to her as a reporter.
"I got to know Barry very well, and he was always such a great help. If I ever needed anything, had any questions on a story, he was always very available to me, and I appreciated that. I’m going to try to give the same level of service that he did to the public," Young said.
Young graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in publication management in 2002. She worked as a paralegal for a Roswell law firm before starting her career in communication.
Before working for The Times, Young worked for the Forsyth County News covering education and crime. And since 2006, she has been the editor of The Paper of Braselton, Chateau Elan and Hoschton.
Young believes her experience in the newspaper business will help her be an effective public information officer.
"I know best what reporters need, having been on that side of the fence," Young said. "I think with my background and experience, this is something that suits me well."