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Reach merges local websites to create new London-wide platform

TCeri Gouldwo local news websites are set to be incorporated into a new London-wide online news platform in the latest digital move by publishing giant Reach.

The company, formerly Trinity Mirror, has announced the launch of MyLondon, which will absorb GetWestLondon and the online arm of the Croydon Advertiser as well as covering whole new patches in the North and East of the capital.

It is the latest in a series of ambitious moves by Reach to launch new online brands in cities and areas traditionally served by rival publishers, such as Glasgow, Belfast and Leeds.

The local print newspaper market in North and East London is largely dominated by Newsquest and Archant, while the George Osborne-edited Evening Standard and its companion website is currently the only newsbrand that covers the whole of the capital.

MyLondon will go live tomorrow after which visitors to GetWestLondon and the Croydon Advertiser will be redirected to the new site.

It is understood Cambridge News and Cambridgeshire Live editor-in-chief David Bartlett has been seconded to serve as launch editor, while Kent Live editor Luke Jacobs will run its “brand team”, tasked with bringing in creative and original content.

Andy Worden, current editor of both the Advertiser and GetWestLondon, will lead MyLondon’s breaking news team.

As well as the breaking news and creative teams, it is understood that there will also be a search engine optimisation and ‘evergreen content’ team.

Ceri Gould, pictured, editor-in-chief of Reach plc South East, said: “MyLondon.News will bring the best local journalism offers in the form of Reach Plc’s successful Live website model.

“Based on an ‘I love London’ approach to living, working, commuting to, playing in the capital, MyLondon.News is London for Londoners.

“Our research has shown there is an appetite for a trusted, local London news brand with personality — especially among 25–34-year-olds who expect more from their go-to website than the bare bones of what’s happening now.

“They want to be informed, yes, but also entertained and moved. Importantly, they want a London that reflects the lives they are living, the commutes they are taking, the food they’re eating, the cliches they’re laughing at. MyLondon is designed for those of us who live in London, who love London, who know what’s wrong with the capital but woe betide anyone else criticising the place.”

The move was first announced on Get West London and its social media channels earlier this afternoon.

A Q&A-style story on Get West London stated: “We’ve grown GetWestLondon to a point where we feel we can cover much more of this brilliant capital.

“We have found over the last couple of years that our readers aren’t just interested in what’s happening in their specific part of London. Some of you live in Hounslow or Uxbridge but work in central London. Or perhaps you live in Harrow but work in Islington.

“A London-wide site allows us to cater for an ever-growing audience from all parts of the city, while maintaining what we have always done by bringing you the latest news and information from west London itself.”

Reaction on the site’s Facebook page was mixed, however, with several users bemoaning the prospect of London-wide news rather than stories specific to their area.

In response, it was explained that the GWL Facebook page would continue to carry West London news and that separate Facebook pages would be created for north, east, south and central London.

Glenn Ebrey, a former editor of the Croydon Advertiser, pointed out on Twitter that the Advertiser’s website has now had four different names in the last eight years, going from icsouthlondon to thisiscroydontoday to croydonadvertiser to MyLondon.

Commented Glenn: “I don’t pretend to have all the answers to the future of local journalism, but one thing I do know – the constant game of musical chairs does not help.”

5 comments

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  • December 5, 2018 at 4:35 pm
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    Apprantely research says this is a good idea.

    Funny that the overwealming response seemed to be sarcasm at the announcement or that of we don’t care we just want local news. There was also a few about will it improve the proof reading and poor websites which I’m sure would have made a few here laugh.

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  • December 6, 2018 at 10:18 am
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    My overwealming response is that some comments apprantely need a proof reader.

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  • December 6, 2018 at 11:11 am
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    “……..a series of ambitious moves by Reach”. Tell me another.

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  • December 6, 2018 at 4:15 pm
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    @blantie – I did see that afterwards and couldn’t go back and edit it so laughed at the irony. In my defence I am but a simple Distribution man and not as learned as you all.

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  • December 6, 2018 at 8:19 pm
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    A logical move by Reach, but time and again we’ve learned that expedient, local mergers dilute the paper’s and readers’ sense of community, and this has been a primary accelerator of audience decline. London is a city of very distinctive villages.

    Exploiting that distinction could be a great winner (v The Standard), through recruitment of non-staff community corrs perhaps?

    Going for homogeneity will only end in failure.

    To start, on this, day 1 of the new brand, I went to the Croydon Advertiser and GetWestLondon websites, and was sent straight to the new MyLondon site. No explanation re the re-branding and both versions contained identical non-local specific content. OK there’s an “in your local area” button, but Ealing is not Chelsea, and Greenford is hardly Harrow. Oh…. and the ad serving, er…. wasn’t.

    Why is it that new pop-ups are viably serving communities of 25k to 40k, across the country, yet the corporate publishers don’t seem to get it?

    Here is a potentially great project, but it needs a little bit of investment, and a lot of nurture.

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