The news team that makes a difference every day ...

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There is something incredibly rewarding about making a difference - and that is exactly what local newspapers do every single week.

Our stories don’t just fill pages and soak up newsprint. They can impact on, and improve lives as well as raising awareness of local groups and events.

In Fife we produce five newspapers in four days every single week out of our newsrooms in Kirkcaldy and Cupar.

They report on, and speak up for, towns as diverse as St Andrews and Leven, Kirkcaldy and Cupar.

There is absolutely no doubt our industry has changed beyond recognition, and the past few years have been the most challenging and painful, but what we do has remained constant. We make a difference.

This week, our news team produced 292 pages of news; every single word dedicated to the stories, issues and events happening on our doorsteps.

There isn’t a single website, radio station, blogger or TV organisation that can match that.

And 292 pages of news is actually a quieter week for us!

The days when we simply published weekly have also gone. We have a huge digital audience online at www.fifetoday.co.uk - Fife’s single biggest news-led website - and on social media across Twitter and Facebook.

Every day we add new content online - not just stories, but pictures and videos.

Some stories appear in more extended format online, while live shows are reviewed often within an hour of two of the final curtain falling.

Sport is a also huge part of our online audience.

Matches involving Raith Rovers, East Fife and Fife Flyers are live tweeted together with instant reaction from the post-game media conferences.

It’s a two-way street as we also canvas immediate reaction from fans, with their views appearing in print, and interact with them during the games.

So, in 2014, the kit we used has developed from a notebook and pen to include a laptop, smartphone and ipad to enable us to write, blog, tweet, shoot video, capture images, and bring it to you online and in print.

That breadth and depth of coverage makes a difference too - from election night drama to cup finals to major public meetings we can inform you about what is happening as it happens often before the national and broadcast media.

Our newspapers still sit at the very heart of what we do, but the weekly print edition is now embedded in what has become a daily newsroom.

Local Newspaper Week is also a fantastic opportunity to spotlight the key role our community reporters play.

They all have their own patches - towns they focus on and are out and about in every week.

Tanya Scoon covers Kirkcaldy, Lori Cormack is in Leven, Neil Henderson in Glenrothes and Liz Rougvie in Cupar.

Kevin McRoberts, our north-east Fife head of news, also covers Fife Council for all our papers, while Matthew Elder and Scott Inglis deliver the most comprehensive sports coverage in the Kingdom, and Lindsey Alexander co-ordinates our features which give Fife-wide coverage to major events, groups and issues across all of our titles.

You will find Fife’s biggest newsroom in Kirkcaldy - and collectively it delivers the content that fills upwards of 300 pages each week and builds a vast, and growing, online audience. In 2014 our stories are reaching more people than ever before.

We are proud to make a difference by speaking up for local groups and individuals who come to us to highlight an issue or concern - one call from our news team often brings an instant result!

And as we mark Local Newspaper Week, we are thrilled to see the Gazette in the final of the ‘Make A Difference’ awards.

Neil Henderson’s story perfectly summed up the positive results a local newspaper can achieve.

He was approached by the family of a young blind, disabled woman who desperately wanted to return home after being treated in hospital for horrendous bedsores.

Aged just 39, she had been left in a ward for elderly dementia patients - clearly an inappropriate place for her care.

The family had struggled to get a home care package in place to allow her to leave the ward, and yet within days of Neil’s story appearing on the front page of the Gazette, a solution was found.

‘My Living Hell’ was a powerful story. Neil spent a lot of time with the family before filing his story and he thoroughly merits his place in the UK-wide final 30 which includes national newspaper and major regional titles.

In telling her story, Neil made a huge difference to one woman, and her family.

It’s what we do.

In print, online, on social media, every day, every week.

>> Vote for the Gazette: Please click www.localnewspaperweek.co.uk/making-difference and vote for the Gazette.

Voting closes midnight on Wednesday.

The news team that makes a difference every day

There is something incredibly rewarding about making a difference - and that is exactly what local newspapers do every single week.

Allan Crow