Hi, Im Ben Palmer. Let me officially introduce myself as the new Editor of the Lithgow Mercury. You're probably thinking 'who is this guy?', so let me give you some background.
I've worked for ACM (formerly Fairfax Media then Nine) since 2007 - I feel old.
There's a good chance you've seen my name pop up in SOME capacity in the last few years whether in the newspaper or even more likely on a Facebook community page - I was even on Triple J one time.
Something else you might not know is that I'm also the Editor of another masthead, the Mudgee Guardian.
For about 7 years or so I worked as a Sub-Editor in Mudgee, mainly focusing on layout, design and choosing which stories went where. While I was Sub-Editor, I thought it might be a good idea to focus on a social media presence...I was right.
Fast forward to a few years ago and I applied for the position of Group Digital Journalist for Fairfax Media and lucky me, I got it. I didn't have to relocate, though responsibilities however increased dramatically.
Also making news in Lithgow:
I was suddenly in charge of the digital strategy for nearly 20 different sites across Western NSW. We handled big sites like Orange, Lithgow and Bathurst as well as smaller sites like Boorowa Blayney and many in between. I absolutely loved being a part of something fresh and cutting edge and I was always looking for a new challenge.
That's why when I was asked if I could help manage Lithgow when former Editor Kirsty Horton left I jumped at the chance. I've been with the Mercury team since about Christmas time when the area was in the grip of a bushfire crisis. I will physically split my time between Mudgee and Lithgow, two places I know very well.
From the outside it won't seem like much has changed for a while. The paper still comes out and we still work to make our website the first and best place for news in the region.
Over time we will be introducing some exciting new content aimed at the Lithgow region including new ways of engaging with us and creating those really important discussions with the public.
But honestly, the real focus in this should be Mercury journalists Ciara Bastow and Alanna Tomazin, they're the real talent and they've made the Mercury what it is today. I'm really excited to work with them - and you, the reader - on the future of the Lithgow Mercury.
We want to ask the question 'what does the Lithgow Mercury mean to you?'.
Maybe it means the newspaper, maybe it's the Facebook page. To some they might only know it as an Instagram page or the website. Adding to these will draw new people to the community and expand how we can tell great stories and inform our readers.
I'm always up for a gasbag - to get in touch, call me on 0448 263 341 or flick me an email email@example.com