James McGrath and Ebony Battersby are The Observer’s newest members of the editorial team.
James McGrath and Ebony Battersby are The Observer’s newest members of the editorial team. Luka Kauzlaric

New reporters drawn to Gladstone from all corners

A BUSINESS reporter from Perth and an award-winning student journalist making the move from Townsville are the newest arrivals to The Observer family.

James McGrath said while Gladstone represented a significant sea change, the climate helped sway him to move from the West Australian capital.

"I was a business reporter in Perth and then I looked outside at all the rain and bitterly cold winds and decided to give Gladstone a go," James said.

"So far everybody's been quite friendly and the weather has been gorgeous... 30 degrees and sunny is certainly an improvement on 20 degrees and rainy."

Outdoors lover Ebony Battersby made the move from North Queensland, with family at Yeppoon a persuasive factor in taking up her post at The Observer.

"I'm an outdoors girl. I love fishing, sailing, diving and camping," she said.

"In 2011 I travelled around Australia for three months in a Mazda 3 with my best friend. We shared a few scary moments, a lot of laughs and one frantic escape from an alligator."

The newcomers are looking forward to making new connections.

"Don't be afraid to stop me in the street and say hello if you spot me. I'm always up for a bit of a chinwag no matter the subject," James said.

As for Ebony, she'll welcome any assistance if seen in trouble at the gym.

"I have an irrational fear of treadmills after a painful fall in a gym many years ago," she laughed.