Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

What a rollercoaster year for the New England Times as we celebrate the highs and lows of our region, bringing to you, our readers, 100 percent local content, with local people and local stories.

For us, we celebrated our first year in operation, and some big milestones were achieved.

In 2023, the New England Times delivered:

  • 1,253 local stories
  • Over 121,000 people read a story on the website
  • We reached over 200 thousand people through our social media platforms
  • Our top five centres from our audience were: Armidale, Inverell, Tamworth, Glen Innes and Tenterfield

Our top five most-read stories from the year were:

  1. Joyce ‘No’ campaign launch in Tamworth attracts little support
  2. Sudden closure of Little Black Duck leaves locals to pick up the pieces
  3. ASC Principal belittles students for speaking out
  4. Armidale Secondary College ‘codesign’ a lie
  5. Crisis as Armidale loses at least 8 GPs

It is no surprise to us that our investigations into Armidale Secondary College and the GP shortage in Armidale dominate the top 5 list. Your continued support for this more in-depth reporting has been both surprising and heartening, and gives us great faith that the New England really does want real news, about their communities, done well. We are hopeful of securing grant funding in the new year to allow us to employ full time journalists who can do more in-depth reporting on what is going on throughout the region.  

Our stories on the GP Crisis, the proposed Winterbourne Wind Farm, Armidale Secondary College, APVMA and a number of other issues were also picked up by larger national news outlets, showing us that others care about what is happening here too, they just need someone on the ground to report it.

Stories we loved

While we are very proud of our investigations, there are many other stories from the year that we loved bringing to you. Here’s some of our favourites.

In January we reported the exciting news of the new gardening festival planned for November and celebrated the grand opening for Quirindi Silo Art.

In February we brought you the story of BEST Community Shed giving 100,000 reasons to smile in Inverell and Uralla locals driving a local project to improve water security.

In March we learned of the regretful closure of the Tenterfield Taxi service and Australia’s largest solar farm officially opened at Uralla.

In April we met the quirky knitters of Northern Tablelands Knitters Guild and learned how a local mum’s dream for a child-friendly gym became an all-inclusive support group.

In May we sat down with local boy Garnet Paterson to talk about how he’s driving his dreams, and there was lucky escape at Armidale Airport.

In June we wrote about the University of the Third Age sharing knowledge from some of our region’s most brilliant minds and the Legacy Centenary Torch Relay came to the New England.

In July, Armidale girl Michelle Bullock was named as the new governor of the reserve bank and Moree farmer Oscar Pearce pledged to ‘fire things up’ having been appointed to a NSW Farmers board position.

In August, North Star local netballer, Charlotte Raleigh, was in the sights of the Sydney Swifts and Tenterfield’s tourism activities were removed from the struggling council’s workload and taken over by the local Chamber.

In September, we went looking for Farmer Todd from Baan Baa, who is looking for love on Farmer Wants a Wife – keep your eyes peeled for this one in 2024 – and Glen Innes bakery Sweetie Pie’s won gold at the Great Aussie Pie Competition. 

In October, the inspirational House of Jackson owner takes out top prize at the Quilt NSW exhibition and the traditional but rare ‘Freedom of Entry’ event was held in Armidale.

In November the wonderful work from Backtrack and the changing of the reigns from Bernie Shakeshaft, and local Tamworth Team lead by Sean Shipley makes a new record, raising over $10 thousand for Movember, donning Mo’s wives would rather not see.

And in December, 2023 Fleece to Fashion Awards stunned at Deeargee and many of our local students excelled in the HSC.

Around the Globe

While we always focus on our local news, we cannot dismiss the world around us, and 2023 threw up some doozies, so if you are feeling worn out, you are not alone.

A King was crowned in May with the coronation of King Charles, while former US President Donald Trump was arrested.

Our data security took centre stage again, with the UK Electoral Commission, Latitude Financial, Twitter, and many health companies reporting breaches, while the fallout from the Medibank and Optus hacks of 2022 are still being felt.

Turmoil continued as wars on the ground raged on and new ones erupted, with the Middle East in unease between Hamas and Israel, while the Ukraine fights for rights against Russia.

And finally, global temperatures shatter records, with climate change no longer a future threat. It is here. 2023 is likely the hottest year on record and a number of extreme weather events have been recorded around the globe, ranging from horrific bushfires to drought and flooding.  

Final Message for 2023

From our team here at the New England Times, we look forward to bringing you the good, the bad and the outright New England ways in 2024, and we thank all of our businesses, advertisers and readers for your support.

Bring on 2024!