Regional online journalism makes an impact every day

THE power to connect with large audiences, to right wrongs, to tell compelling stories - and to change lives forever.

They are just some of the reasons why local journalism continues to thrive in the digital age.

More than ever people need their local newspaper and websites to stay informed, especially during times of crisis.

Readers want us to keep the politicians on their toes and to campaign for things that need to happen.

In the history of APN's Australian Regional Media, owner of the NewsMail, there have been many significant wins. Major highway upgrades have been secured after relentless campaigns over tragic fatal accidents.

A NSW teenager needing lifesaving surgery had his dream realised earlier this year after around the clock coverage in print, online and on social media by his local newspaper.

Daniel Morcombe's killer was brought to justice thanks to the tireless dedication of Bruce and Denise Morcombe, the great work of police, and the relentless coverage by local media.

Bundaberg Hospital patients and visitors were given an extra car park without having to take it out of the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service's clinical budget, after the State Government gave in to pressure from the NewsMail, with the help of thousands of people who signed our petition.

Across ARM's 12 major daily newspapers there are now more than 10,000 stories being produced online each month and more than 650 videos.

Our focus is unapologetically local because that's what you, our valued reader, have asked us to deliver.

In coming weeks, we will be increasing that local focus with improved websites which will deliver the best in breaking news, local and community news, things to do, and photo and video coverage of local events.

We are ramping things up. We'd love to know if you notice the changes.

Our newly designed homepages, which are in place at half of our daily papers - including the NewsMail - and will be on every site within a fortnight. Mobile sites put a firm focus on our local coverage while new pages have been created for expanded community news and things to do.

Each month, more than 3.8 million people come to ARM's websites, making it one of the largest news networks in the country.

We now have almost 380,000 people liking us on Facebook and more than 38,000 following us on Twitter.

Our Facebook expertise was recently recognised at the prestigious International News Media Association awards in New York, while our websites have consistently been finalists at the PANPA Newspaper of the Year awards.

It's a network which allows us to tell your story - and make a difference every day.

Whether it be campaigning against domestic violence through our Terror at Home series, which contributed to major State Government announcements, or offering great cost-busting ideas, our newspapers and websites will continue to fight for you.

And we hope that you will become increasingly involved by telling your story through our websites.

Our Your Story page allows readers, schools, community and sporting groups to contribute news from their area. All you need to do is go to http://www.news-mail.com.au/Your-Story and start writing.

After all, we believe that every story matters, especially yours.



LITTLE LACIE: Girl's mystery illness finally diagnosed

LITTLE LACIE: Girl's mystery illness finally diagnosed

Fight for answers finally over, now treatment begins for Lacie

Bundy Hospital focus: Aged care residents clog emergency

Bundy Hospital focus: Aged care residents clog emergency

Surge in number of residents transported to hospital by ambulance

Big win for Bundy renters: Vacancy rate doubles

Big win for Bundy renters: Vacancy rate doubles

REIQ figures show jump in the three months to end of March

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