It was a little past 9am on Monday when the phone rang from an unknown number.
"Hi, I'm looking to place an ad in next week's Country Life. How much will that be?" the gentleman on the other end said.
I politely let him know that unfortunately advertising wasn't my area of expertise but, I could give him the contact number for the classies department.
"Well, what do you do then?" he responded.
Where do I begin, I thought.
It's been 16 months since I took on the role of editor of Queensland Country Life.
Unfortunately you wouldn't have seen my byline very often in the pages this year and I don't boast tens of thousands of kilometres of mileage on my Triton ute like the rest of our team.
If there were eight days in a week, a few more hours in the day, I reckon I could change that.
But my transition from journalist to editor meant sacrificing the time I would spend writing to help others chase down their stories instead.
I used to get a thrill flicking through the pages each week until I found my name.
Now I run off the adrenalin of late ad changes and press deadlines and feel pride watching my team of journalists turn a strand of gossip into an investigative news story.
I start work on the clock of a dairy farmer - as dawn breaks I undertake the brisk 10 metre walk from my bedroom to the office to start work.
Ninety per cent of readers I speak to presume I either live in Brisbane or Toowoomba.
The answer is neither.
My main residence is actually in Dalby.
Sometimes you'll find me in Boompa, Gayndah or even Rockhampton, where I'm writing this right now.
But the Dalby home office is where I stay for most of the day, besides the odd toilet break and to make a wrap for lunch.
"We see the light on in that room until late at night," my neighbour mentioned one day.
I was sitting in that same room in February to watch the livestream of our company's inaugural 2021 ACM Excellence Awards.
Turns out you can fall off swivel chairs.
My body and my jaw hit the floor when I was announced as the 2021 Young Journalist of the Year.
A few months later though I didn't have to celebrate alone when Queensland Country Life was claimed the 2022 Agriculture Masthead of the Year ahead of our healthy rival and sister paper, The Land.
As an editor I don't think there is a greater honour than to have the hard work of your team recognised, especially at a national level.
Each morning at 8.45am our eight journalists from across the state jump on a news meeting via video call; it's the closest thing they get to an office.
For the next half an hour, sometimes 45 minutes, they each take the floor to pitch what they intend to write for the day.
Some of them tune in from Blackall, up in Julia Creek or even down in Dirranbandi.
They have to compete with bellowing cattle for the microphone as they log on from an early morning cattle sale or hold their hand still so as not to lose the one bar of service they've found while on the road.
Unlike the movies, their story pitches are very rarely handed out to them. They have to use contacts, pick up the phones and mingle in the community to find their story leads.
Then they get to work.
My sacrifices of late nights and early mornings pale in comparison to what they do.
I'm their sounding board, the one who "blows up their world" with another crazy idea.
I can spend the day talking to media advisors, ad reps, readers who didn't get their mail, different levels of staff, whistleblowers or even lawyers.
But our journalists are the ones that keep feeding our newsroom.
Also read: No movement, no worries for Brian
Our relationship with our readers is more than just work, we live it too.
In September I was sitting in my home office tuning into the Glenlands bull sale to post any news of record-breaking prices straight online.
But I was also nervously watching my Dad and brother on the Elite Livestock Auctions webcam placing bids until they reached the eye-watering figure of $200,000.
Now, the equal seventh most expensive bull to sell in Queensland this year is strolling around our front paddock.
I was in the North Burnett in January when Cyclone Seth hammered properties only a few kilometres away from my family's property.
When our team was stuck on the other side of road closed signs, the journo in me couldn't resist cutting my festive holidays short to get on-farm to help share the impact with the wider public.
This masthead is more than just ink and paper; it's the first draft of history, the stories of your farming family.
We've been there with our readers as they sold record breaking weaners, celebrated a bumper harvest or achieved a come-from-behind win.
We've helped campaign for legislative change and traveled to areas so remote they are often forgotten by other mainstream media outlets.
We were there as you were blanketed in dust trying to feed hungry stock and we were a shoulder to cry on when monsoonal floods destroyed generations of hard work.
So, I guess the important question still remains - what do I actually do?
I work long hours, worry what readers think when I place a story in a certain spot and read thousands of words each week.
I also watch journalists break national headlines, help them to find an angle they were sitting on all along, and get the paper off to press.
I'm the person who has a phone ringing at the dinner table and a computer within arm's reach at all times, just in case somebody needs help.
I don't know how much a classifieds ad will cost in the Country Life next week, but I can guarantee it'll be a paper worth buying!
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