Dear valued readers, we would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

It’s the traditional time of year to take stock, look back at what you’ve achieved and make plans for the next 12 months, so hopefully you’ll forgive me for a slightly self-indulgent look at a year in publishing.

I have to start by saying, wow what a year. As an editor I’ve never faced so many challenges and had to work so hard to succeed.

It’s no secret the publishing industry has been struggling against some very tough trading conditions and my own company, Newsquest, which publishes your favourite local newspaper, is no exception.

For many years we’ve been working incredibly hard to transform ourselves from a traditional newspaper publisher into a true multi-media company.

The challenge has been to maintain the great newspapers everyone loves and, at the same time, create websites and social media platforms which can attract and excite new audiences.

I’m very proud to say we now have a bigger audience than ever before and have been more successful than any of our competitors in London.

This has been achieved by completely redesigning our newspapers and turning the emphasis firmly back towards community news. No-one wants to be constantly bombarded with bad news and we have worked tirelessly to bring you a better balance of news with more uplifting and celebratory stories.

At the same time we’ve been changing the way we deliver the news to you.

More people than ever now access our newspapers by logging on to our website and choose to read the news via our ever-more popular e-editions.

We’ve also introduced more free pick-up points for all our newspapers and, due to popular demand, made many more available at newsagents.

New data-driven newsrooms allow our reporters to see which of their stories are attracting the biggest audiences and gaining the best response – and everything is promoted through social media.

South London editor Jim Palmer and web editor Simon Bull must take great credit for driving through these changes and reinventing what we do on our websites and in our newspapers.

The changes have been incredibly well received by you, our loyal readers, and I want to thank you for your continued support for everything we’ve done in 2017.

I hope you and yours can also look back on the last year and feel you’ve achieved success in whatever you do. Finally, thank you for reading my columns each week and here’s to an even better year in 2018.