About me

Everything you want to know and maybe a little you don't

Ben Garrett

Newspaper editor and erstwhile web designer from Big South Fork Country on the Tennessee-Kentucky border.

I have been a full-time journalist for 21 years, a newspaper editor for 21 years and a newspaper publisher for 9 years.

Tracing my love for writing to its earliest roots would be difficult. I suppose it started with a love for words. I lived to read as an elementary student, voraciously consuming every book I could get my hands on — especially The Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown earlier on, before later graduating to Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and still later to the classics. In high school, I was the crazy one who actually enjoyed writing research papers and essays. Only one writing project eluded me: the late Robert Posey, who taught our 11th grade advanced English course, assigned an essay on the subject, “The Pseudo Omnipotence of Spectacles and Life,” inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. That was the one that got away.

I began writing for various print and digital outdoors publications when I was still in college, and broke into hometown journalism by writing a weekly outdoors column for my hometown newspaper in 2000. I later became a stringer covering high school football for that same newspaper. In 2002, I abandoned my college career path of teaching to instead pursue a full-time career in journalism. My first job was at a community weekly in Middle Tennessee before I returned home in Spring 2003 to take a job at the same newspaper where I’d began my career as a columnist three years earlier. 

In 2004, I was named editor of that newspaper, at the age of 25. In 2015, I was named the newspaper’s publisher. We won “General Excellence” as Tennessee’s best newspaper in our circulation class two times in four years. In 2021, I oversaw the newspaper’s transition from print to digital in order to stay abreast of journalism’s changing landscape. 

Because everyone knows that no one is getting rich on a newspaperman’s salary, especially in the 21st century, I launched a side hustle in 2010 called Appy Brands. For the past decade and a half, I have simultaneously balanced dual careers in journalism and marketing.

I have a laptop and a tablet but I’m annoyed by both (though I do find use for my laptop in streaming old TV shows and YouTube videos at night). I do my best work on a Mac Studio with a 48-inch panoramic display that I love almost as much as my kids.

When I’m not glued to the chair in my basement office, which I’ve carefully designed to resemble a forest because that’s where I’d rather be, you’ll find me in the actual forest — sometimes hiking, sometimes mountain biking, sometimes fishing, sometimes hunting, sometimes wandering aimlessly, but always outside.