OVER the years there have been a considerable number of changes to the Gazette & Herald and the way in which I submit my reports.

The paper changed from broadsheet to tabloid size with six columns on the community news pages; the number of editions reduced so each covers more towns resulting in more villages competing for space on the community news pages; and the deadline for community news copy was moved forward to noon on Monday, then to noon on Friday, and a few years ago to 9am on the preceding Thursday.

The wider use of emails means that copy can be sent directly to the Gazette’s sub-editor, although this was still a cumbersome process in the days of dial-up, before broadband speeded up the system.

Since I now have an electronic copy of every report, the carbon paper and portable typewriter have been consigned to history.

The greater use of digital photography has seen fewer visits by staff photographers to cover local events and more amateur photos being used.

When I started as the village correspondent I used to regularly check the village noticeboard for details of forthcoming events and spent time getting to know the secretaries of the various groups to ensure I was kept informed of their activities.

Nowadays most villagers know where to find me and I receive most of my information by email.

In my early reports I was asked to mention local people, especially children, as families love seeing their names in print.

Public sensitivities and worries over child protection has seen a reversal of this, with permission having to be gained from parents before pictures of children can be included.

I had the pleasure of working with the local schoolchildren when the village school was invited to compile their own page of news. in one edition of the Gazette.

I took four of the children to look around the Devizes offices and to meet editorial staff, where they watched them lay out the page ready for print.

The resulting page appeared on December 6, 1990 and I was presented with a copy at an assembly.

I have seen many changes of staff over the years, having worked under three different editors and many sub-editors. The changing trends in accessing news and the financial climate led to the closure of the Chippenham office and then to the main offices in Devizes, but there is still a place for community news.