Keeping up with The Times on the Fleurieu

I had barely been a Times journalist for two months when I found myself in a situation where I was way out of my depth. My knees were shaking as, in front of a rowdy crowd of local dignitaries and colleagues, I stood there looking sheepishly over at then-editor Brooke DuBois who had asked if I knew how to play All the Single Ladies.

Michael Simmons and Ben Kelly at work in The Times' new office.

Michael Simmons and Ben Kelly at work in The Times' new office.

It was the newspaper’s 100-year gala celebration in 2012, and we had hijacked the band’s equipment. With Brooke (the talented singer) on the microphone she told me “it’s an easy one” and pointed to the guitar in my hands.

But as my ever-considerate colleague Anthony Caggiano had been topping up my beer glass all night, I couldn’t even remember how to play a C chord.

Luckily the mayors, politicians and bosses had long gone home, because it must have been worse than Meatloaf at the AFL grand final. Well, it can’t have been that bad, surely? That celebration in 2012 was my baptism into journalism on the Fleurieu, and a welcoming to The Times family.

Earlier this month the newspaper celebrated its 105th year, which seems a fitting time for me to move on from the south coast, to a new position in journalism.

Being from the western suburbs of Adelaide, I had never grown up with a country paper. I quickly came to appreciate the importance of a local rag in a town like Victor. I think it’s one of the best in the state, but I’m biased.

Although we put a big emphasis on news-gathering and writing style in the newsroom, the community relies on us just as much for the smaller things: sports results, community news, photos of junior sports, letters to the editor, and many colourful photos of local faces each week.

I have learnt much from Michael Simmons who has the community at heart when he goes about his duties as a journo.

The Times is a fantastic training ground for all journalists who come through the ranks, having to produce a story from conception to interview, photos, writing and editing. I’m grateful for everything I’ve learnt.

The southern Fleurieu is a fantastic place to live and work, and there are plenty of exciting things happening in the near future. The arrival of Aldi, Coles and Bunnings will spark growth and retail options for locals, while it will be interesting to watch the success of Oceanic Victor and local music festivals over the summer.

                                             –  BEN KELLY.