Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by Mandurah Mail journalist Carla Hildebrandt.
As a community journalist, there's nothing more satisfying than making a positive change where you work.
Helping the voiceless and making a difference from your own doorstep.
Last week was one of those moments where I could see how our stories at the Mandurah Mail had influenced this kind of change.
Almost 40 years since her daughter vanished, Mandurah mother Margaret Carver was provided a sense of hope and a sliver of rare positive news.
The WA government announced a $250,000 reward for information, that could help solve her daughter Annette Deverell's death.
Prior to this, there had been no reward on the historical case.
And in an extraordinary move, the government offered immunity from prosecution, if the person who came forward was not directly responsible for the 19-year-old's death.
I can safely say, this would not have happened if the Mail's podcast Annette: Cold Case Unlocked, had not explored the seaside mystery.
The Mail's journey started 16 months ago, involving painstaking research, perseverance and countless interviews.
We did not know how the community would react to the series, but the response after its launch three months ago, has been overwhelmingly positive.
Authorities' decision to offer a reward shows the influence and importance of community journalism and serves as a reminder to reporters that they can initiate change in their communities.
Often times, journalism can be a thankless task, but if we can continue to influence change then it makes it all worthwhile.
Carla Hildebrandt, journalist, Mandurah Mail
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