It’s been almost a decade since Andrew Walker and I set up our humble website and in that time we have grown beyond all expectations.

With more than 4,500 articles from hundreds of contributors, and almost 55,000 comments from our countless thousands of readers, we like to think we have carved out our own distinct place as a must read venue on Southeast Asia.

All of this has been done with a lot of goodwill, sweat, and some blood and tears, while Andrew and I juggled the demands of our academic careers.

Now we are set for even more action, with the appointment of our first full-time editor, James Giggacher.

James holds qualifications in journalism and international relations from the University of Technology — Sydney and the Australian National University, and has worked across print, radio and television, including stints with national broadcasters the ABC and SBS.

He has also been published across a range of Australian and international media inlcuding The Canberra Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, ABC’s The Drum, SBS News, Business Spectator, CNN, Rappler and The Establishment Post. He’s also contributed to specialist academic websites like Policy Forum, the Asian Studies Association of Australia’s Asian Currents and, of course, New Mandala.

Many of you will remember that James helped run our coverage of the 2014 Indonesia parliamentary and presidential elections which saw our biggest year on record for readership. In 2013, he was also involved with our specialist coverage of Malaysia’s general elections.

Prior to joining New Mandala, James was the Asia Pacific Editor at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, where he ran a communications and media engagement program, mentored researchers and students on writing for the media, and edited and wrote opinion pieces and features on current affairs, breaking news and topical research on the region.

In addition to working with New Mandala, James takes up a position as an Associate Lecturer with our home institution, the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at ANU, where he will teach and research media and politics in the region.

James cares deeply about how academic research and expertise can better contribute to public debate and knowledge, as well as increase understanding of the diverse and complex history, politics and societies of Southeast Asia and the broader Asia Pacific.

You can pitch stories to James at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @jgiggacher.

2015 and 2016 are set to be big years for New Mandala and we have some bold ideas that will take our work in new directions — including with a brand new website.

James will be heavily involved in this work and we are excited to see where it leads. Please join Andrew and I in welcoming him to the team.

Nicholas Farrelly is the co-founder of New Mandala and a Fellow at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, ANU.