Oskar Garcia, a versatile reporter for The Associated Press in Las Vegas and leader in the company's use of social media as a reporting tool, has been named news editor for Hawaii and the Pacific Rim.

The appointment was announced Wednesday by Traci Carl, the AP's regional editor for the West.

Garcia has spent nearly six years with the AP, the past four in Las Vegas covering various subjects including the casino industry, tourism, the World Series of Poker and the Miss America pageant.

He has also been at the forefront of AP's social media efforts, including training for staff and journalists outside the AP.

"Oskar is a talented and energetic news leader who will ensure Hawaii's overall report stays strong, for all formats and topics," Carl said.

In his new role, Garcia will be based in Honolulu. He will oversee Hawaii's staff and statewide coverage, as well as Guam, American Samoa and Saipan.

"Oskar will bring drive and great news sense to the bureau and to the Hawaii report," said John Raess, chief of bureau for Northern California, northern Nevada and Hawaii. "Our Hawaiian members will find him a great addition to the bureau."

Before Las Vegas, Garcia spent nearly two years as a reporter in the AP's Omaha, Neb., bureau, covering immigration and other general assignment news. He started his AP career in 2006 as an intern in Los Angeles.

Garcia, 30, is a 2006 graduate of the master's journalism program at the University of California, Berkeley, and a 2004 graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he met his wife of more than three years.