As a child, The Border Watch Newsgroup Chief of Staff Raquel Mustillo would eagerly await finishing the school day to pick up an issue of her local paper.
“On the walk back home from school, I would swing by the local shop to pick up a Magnum, a packet of chips and The South Eastern Times,” she said.
“There were some occasions the paper had not arrived yet and it was not until years later that I found out it was because the journos were writing a breaking story.
“Never in a million years did I imagine I would one day be writing to deadline and holding up print myself one day.”
Born and bred in Millicent, Raquel spent time both abroad and in the city before undertaking a public relations degree at university.
However, she soon changed courses when realising she preferred journalism, completing her degree before taking a position as a graduate reporter at The South Eastern Times in 2013.
“I love writing no matter what the context, but there is something extraordinary about writing for the paper you used to read as a kid,” she said.
“It also taught me the importance of regional journalism, its role as an essential democratic force, and the dual role of acting as a watchdog as well as advocate.
“I enjoy doing both because I think it is equally as important to fight for your community as much as it is to hold the powerbrokers to account.”
After four years at the Millicent masthead, Raquel moved to The Border Watch taking on the political round, which she cites as her favourite style of writing.
Earlier this year Raquel was elevated to Chief of Staff, which combines reporting with the managerial responsibilities including assisting the Editor in the coordination of the Newsroom.
The no nonsense reporter attributes her inquisitive streak to her late grandfather, who she says instilled her with a passion for truth and importantly, politics.
“Nonno was a veracious reader and every Thursday, he would have ‘The Times’ and the Italian newspaper scattered on the lounge room table,” she said.
“If he wasn’t reading, he would be tuned into Federal Parliament question time,” she said.
“I would go to visit him on my lunch break and he would be relaying everything that had happened, as it happened and often very angrily, before the news had even reported on it.
“He taught me the importance of being educated about the world around you.”
Outside of the newsroom, Raquel enjoys catching waves, producing music or travelling to unusual destinations, with North Korea, Iran and Iraq already ticked off her list.