James Martinez, a veteran journalist who has helped drive coverage of some of the biggest stories of the past decade for The Associated Press, has been named to the newly created position of news editor for New York state for the news cooperative.

The appointment was announced Tuesday by Karen Testa, the AP's editor for the East region of the U.S.

Martinez has served as the AP's deputy national editor for the past six years, during which time he helped lead coverage of the long-term aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Virginia Tech shootings and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

"James has built a reputation as a creative, collaborative editor and is the perfect fit to lead AP's team in the most competitive news market in the nation," Testa said. "Everything he has done, from beat reporting to news editing to sculpting the national report, has served to prepare him for this."

Martinez will partner with the cooperative's news editors in Albany and New York City to develop distinctive coverage across all formats.

"This is an exciting new challenge for one of our strongest news leaders," said Mike Oreskes, AP's senior managing editor for U.S. news. "Matching the news instincts of James Martinez with the news of New York will make for a great report for our customers."

Before being named deputy national editor, Martinez launched the AP's South Wire, working with editors and reporters in 12 states to produce a spot and enterprise report of particular interest to that region of the country. He played a key role in coverage of the Washington-area sniper case and the Florida legal fight over the disputed presidential election in 2000.

Martinez also served as the news editor in Portland, Ore., as a national editor in New York, and as a reporter in Tampa, Fla.

He also worked as bureau chief for The Arizona Republic in Phoenix.

He is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

Martinez, 48, will be based in New York City and begin his new role later this month.