Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Meet the team that brings you The News

Contact the Shepparton News team if you have news tips, photos, videos, letters to the editor or a story to share with the community.

July 19, 2012 12:03pm

Darren LintonDarren Linton

Senior journalist

Darren has worked in newspapers and television for almost 30 years.

In that time he has covered the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, September 11 terror attacks in New York, 2004 Madrid train bombing and 2002 Dubrovka Theater hostage crisis in Moscow, as well as Australian state and federal elections, the Port Arthur massacre and the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race disaster.

His favourite story was of a fight by a Gippsland dad to save the fantasy land he created out of junk to make his kids proud of his job running a tip after they were called ‘tip rats’ at school. Darren says while the move by the local council to close the tip was successful, the story was inspiring.

Darren covers local government, state and federal politics and general news and has a passion for photography and military history.

Phone: 5820 3227


Twitter: @SN_DLinton

John LewisJohn Lewis


John writes feature, human interest and people profile stories but can tackle hard news for the Shepparton News when required.
In his Friday column My Word John discusses anything from issues of the day to what’s been happening in ‘lawn mower land’.

John has been involved in journalism for 30 years after starting his career as a motorcycle courier for the United Kingdom’s Press Association in London’s Fleet St.

This is his 20th year with the McPherson Media Group after arriving in Australia in 1992.

John’s had many career highlights but says covering the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires and travelling to Canberra to interview First Bloke Tim Mathieson were special.

John takes a keen interest in local theatre and music, plays guitar and rides a motorcycle when he should be walking his dogs.

Phone: 5820 3220


Twitter: @SN_JohnLewis

Riahn SmithRiahn Smith


Riahn joined the News in October 2012 after completing a Master of Communication (Journalism) at RMIT University in Melbourne and a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University. During that time, she completed work placements at the Geelong Advertiser, Channel Nine News and 3AW radio. She also helped launch online community newspaper The Razor, which provided Melbourne-based news, commentary and user-generated content.

Riahn covers police, court and general news and says her favourite stories are the personal ones.

She says getting beyond the basic ‘who, what, where, why and when’ and hearing people’s stories of loss, love, troubles and triumphs make every day at work different and exciting.

Phone: 5820 3226


Estelle GriepinkEstelle Griepink


Estelle joined The News in April 2013 after completing a Bachelor of Journalism at RMIT University in Melbourne. Before that, she completed work placements with ABC News, SBS World News Australia, Thomson Reuters Jakarta and Fairfax Media.

Estelle spent two exciting years writing for a fashion magazine in Melbourne before switching gears to news journalism.

Estelle says she prefers it because you never know what you’re going to be reporting on until you walk into the newsroom.  

Estelle says she has a keen interest in multicultural news and someday wants to be a foreign correspondent, hopefully in Indonesia.

Her favourite stories to cover at The News are the ones that involve Shepparton’s diverse multicultural community. 

Phone: 58203263


Twitter: @SN_EGriepink

Alexandra BolkasAlexandra Bolkas


Alex joined the Shepp News’ newsroom in April 2013 after a brief stint as a subeditor. She completed her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) degree at RMIT University last year.

While at uni she tried to soak up as much work experience as possible, including time at WIN News and SYN radio station in Melbourne.

But a particular internship at The Age cemented her passion for print journalism.

Alex says she loves the mixed bag of stories she gets to cover while in Shepparton, particularly the personal stories and those about the region’s vibrant multicultural community.

She currently enjoys covering the education and entertainment rounds. Aside from reporting she likes attempting to learn new languages and travelling.

Phone: 5820 3231


Twitter: @SN_AlexBolkas

Rhiannon GavalakisRhiannon Gavalakis


Rhiannon started with The News in March 2013 after completing a Bachelor of Arts at La Trobe University.

She covers general interest stories and writes the weekly fashion and cooking features for The News.

An animal lover at heart, she loves to write stories about people’s beloved pets. Her favourite was about a two-legged beagle named Monty, who defied the odds for his chance at life.

Phone: 58 203 237


Twitter: @SN_RhiGavalakis


Damen FrancisDamen Francis

Sports editor

Damen joined The News in February, 2012 and assumed the role of sports editor in October, 2013.

Growing up in Tasmania - don't hold it against him - Damen spent most of his summers watching cricket five minutes down the road at Bellerive Oval.

After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Tasmania, with majors in Journalism, Media and Communications and History, Damen's break came via the bi-weekly Latrobe Valley Express in Gippsland.

From basketball to bocce, Damen loves all sports, but with parents that both played and coached at state level, it's little surprise his great passion is soccer and he is an avid fan of English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.

Damen has been fortunate enough to interview the likes of Peter Siddle, Harry Kewell and Joel Selwood during his time in the industry, but he says telling the stories of local sports people is the most rewarding part of his job.

Phone: 5820 3228


Twitter: @SN_DamenFrancis

Hannah DriscollHannah Driscoll

Sports journalist

Hannah Driscoll grew up in Rochester, so has a soft spot for the Tigers (only the Rochy variety though, she is an avid Essendon Bombers supporter).

She has worked at the Shepparton News since February 2011 after finishing university in Melbourne in November 2010.

Hannah says it’s well-known in the industry you’re not a proper sports journalist until you do a golf hole-in-one story – luckily, she wrote one of those just a few weeks into her career.

Phone: 5820 3223


Twitter: @SN_HDriscoll

Matthew GaleaMatthew Galea

Sports journalist

Matthew joined the Shepparton News at the end of March 2013, realising a decade-long dream to become a sports journalist which was nurtured through countless high school classes reading sport magazines.

Matt completed a major in Media and Communications through the Bachelor of Arts programme at the University of Melbourne in 2012.

While completing his degree, Matt wrote weekly online columns for FourFourTwo Australia, Melbourne Heart Football Club as well as getting his own start up, the Manchester United Supporters Association of Australia, off the ground.

Matt has also worked for Fox Sports in its social media department, where he has provided commentary on A-League matches and Socceroos World Cup qualifiers.

Matt retains a big passion for digital and social media, but says that print media is where he always wanted to work.

He says that being able to cover a variety of sports, from footy to croquet, in his time at the News has been particularly rewarding, and ensures that every day offers something a bit different.

You can follow Matt on Twitter through his Shepparton-specific @SN_MattGalea or his general @mg91 accounts.

Phone: 5820 3224



Ray SizerRay Sizer

Chief photographer

Ray is the pictorial manager and chief photographer at the Shepparton News.

Ray has been a fixture at The News since he joined the paper in 1979.

He and his staff cover everything from The News, Country News and McPherson Media Group special publications.

Ray is addicted to golf and loves a good curry.

Phone: 5820 3235


Simon BinghamSimon Bingham

Second in charge, photography

Simon found a love of news photograpghy when he started work experience at The News in 2007. He became a part-time photographer at the start of 2009 and full-time a year later.

Since then, he's covered the AFL Grand Final replay in 2010, numerous floods through the region and everything from breaking news to sport.

This year, he was promoted to second in charge at the age of 21.

He loves his job because he gets to meet a lot of great people in the community and hear their stories.

Outside of work, he enjoys watching footy and catching up with mates.

Phone: 5820 3238


Julie Mercer

Julie Mercer


Julie has been at the Shepparton News for 24 years and seen huge changes in photography in that time.

When she started at The News photographers processed their own black and white film and printed photographs in the darkroom; now she works with the latest Nikon digital cameras and lenses and work is done on computers.

Julie enjoys art and loves painting and drawing in her spare time.

Julie says the best part of her job is getting out and meeting the wide range of people in the Goulburn Valley. 

Phone: 5820 3236


Bianca MibusBianca Mibus

Cadet photographer

Bianca is a bubbly 19-year-old girl originally off a farm in Horsham. She moved to Shepparton in April this year to be a cadet photographer.

"I love my job because I get to go on all sorts of jobs and meet so many different people - although I personally think they only hired me for my mother's cooking," she said.

Phone: 5820 3236


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