FARMINGTON — Bob Neal of New Sharon has been named the new editor of The Franklin Journal and the Livermore Falls Advertiser, which publish out of Sun Media Group’s office in Farmington.

Neal, who has more than 30 years of journalism experience, is known locally for his farm, The Turkey Farm, where he raised turkeys and farmed produce from 1986 until he sold the farm in 2015.

A member of the Franklin County Agricultural Task Force and a board member of the Maine Farm Bureau Association, Neal has most recently been writing a regular column for the Sun Journal called “The Countryman,” a reflection of lifestyle, social change, personal reminiscences and politics.

Prior to his career in farming, Neal was the editorial page editor at the Waterville Morning Sentinel from 1985 to 1989, where he won three Maine Press Association awards. He is a former metropolitan editor of the Warren Tribune-Chronicle in Ohio, national editor at The Allentown Morning Call, suburban editor for The Kansas City Star, deputy editor of editorial pages and women’s editor for The Montreal Gazette and copy editor at the Bangor Daily News.

He began his journalism career in 1966 as a reporter for The Kansas City Star.

Neal holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and has done graduate work at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

A former deacon of the New Sharon Congregational Church and former member and chairman of the School Administrative District 9 board of directors, Neal is a fan of women’s college basketball and finished his final term on the New Sharon Board of Selectmen in March.

“I fell in love with newspapers when I began selling papers on the street at age 7,” Neal said. “Two years later, I got my first delivery route.”

Neal wrote freelance sports for his hometown paper and edited his high school newspaper and, while he has been away from the profession of journalism for more than 25 years, he has “remained an inveterate reader and kept up with friends in the business in Lewiston, Montreal, Philadelphia and other places.”

Anne Sheehan, managing editor of the Sun Media Group’s western Maine weeklies, said: “I am thrilled to welcome Bob to our newspaper family. The readership of The Franklin Journal and Livermore Falls Advertiser deserves a highly experienced editor who lives in the community and can focus on giving it the best news and features possible. I think Bob will do just that.”

A strong copy editor and former writing coach for the Sun Journal, Neal understands the Farmington area and surrounding communities, according to Judith Meyer, executive editor for SMG.

“I look forward to having him work with our staff to bring the strongest possible journalism to our readers,” Meyer said. “Bob has a wonderful personality and is very strongly connected to the communities in Franklin County. I look forward to working with him and for our readers to meet him.”

Neal is scheduled to start at the SMG’s Farmington bureau this week.

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