22 May 2024

Meet the Region Illawarra team: Subeditor Andrew Sutton

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Region subeditor Andrew Sutton working on an article. Photo: Supplied.

This week we’re introducing our Region Illawarra team – the people behind the stories. Today, meet subeditor Andrew Sutton.

Wagga-born Andrew Sutton clearly remembers the disheartening words ‘See me please’ on a page of his school exercise book.

Though the ensuing education on the correct use of ‘its’ vs ‘it’s’ would be long remembered, it would not be applied regularly until many years later.

“At school I was more interested in science subjects and followed that through to university, which led to 10 years in Sydney as an industrial chemist developing foam formulations for items such as chairs, headrests and cool room panels, and later formulating tile adhesives and grouts,” Andrew said.

A career change away from commercial science was prompted by “Sydney’s property prices and the carpark that is Parramatta Road”, which resulted in a return to Wagga for Andrew and a new adventure for his then-girlfriend (now wife), following their six months of travelling around the US and South America in 2008.

With little in the way of a chemistry industry in his hometown, Andrew successfully applied for a position at The Daily Advertiser (DA), a paper he had read as a schoolboy.

“I had always been an avid reader of newspapers, and I was keen on coming up with headlines and contributing to story ideas in a newsroom,” Andrew said. “Subediting eventually led to writing.”

READ ALSO Meet the Region Illawarra team: Journalist Zoe Cartwright

The DA job was to that point Andrew’s favourite – poles apart from his first job delivering pamphlets around Wagga’s streets – but was prematurely cut short by the changing industry.

“The writing was on the wall as to what would become of subeditors there and I moved to the Illawarra in 2014 with my wife and two kids to take on a role at the University of Wollongong,” Andrew said.

Following various communications and marketing roles, Andrew was initially hired by Region in 2022 to edit Region Illawarra’s sister masthead Region Riverina owing to his knowledge of Wagga and its surrounds.

“I’ve subbed some great stories at Region and, on the Illawarra side, a few stand out,” Andrew said. “Number one, featuring my wife in the hero image, was about the great work the Illawarra Cancer Care clinical trials team is doing at Wollongong Hospital.

“Circling back to my interest in science, the story about the tech being produced by Hysata is another that comes to mind and the third one would be a recent post about astroturfing. These three are closely followed by the report about The Farm at Killalea State Park being named Australia’s second-best beach,” Andrew said.

READ ALSO Meet the Region Illawarra team: Journalist Kellie O’Brien

The mention of Wagga’s beach also once being named a top 10 Australian beach brought a smile to Andrew’s face.

“I was in Wagga recently running along the banks of the ‘Bidgee and reminiscing about what the area was and what it’s become. If I had to choose between Wagga’s ‘five o’clock wave’ and waves at The Farm, I’d choose the latter every time,” he said. “I’ve spent more time at Killalea State Park and The Farm than at any other location in the Illawarra.”

When he’s not correcting copy, Andrew “attempts to play guitar like Mark Knopfler and paint like Nicholas Harding”.

“It’s only in recent years that I’ve returned to painting after a long layoff,” he said. “I like to paint ‘alla prima’ with a palette knife – the subject matter is quite often an Illawarra landscape.”

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