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Hyperlocal news site founder steps down as editor after 10 years

Ed Walker PicThe founder and editor of a hyperlocal news website is set to step down from his role after a decade in charge.

Ed Walker, left, has revealed he is leaving his post at Blog Preston, a Community Interest Company which he launched in 2009.

Ed has run the independent site alongside full-time roles with Reach Regionals, where he is currently editor (digital), and also launched a weekly print edition of Blog Preston in a 2016 reverse-publishing venture.

But in an announcement revealing his departure, Ed said changes in his personal and professional life meant now was a “good time to hand over the site to someone new.”

Rachel Smith and Kate Rosindale, who both write for Blog Preston at present, will take on the direction of the company and serve as co-editors of the site, which has a readership of 180,000 unique users per month.

In a message to readers, Ed said: “Seeing the Blog grow from being a small site to becoming a household name in Preston has been very satisfying. It’s been a privilege to report so extensively on the city and see the changes for the last decade, and certainly a lot has changed.

“Due to changes in my personal and professional life, and with Blog Preston reaching a record audience in July with 892,000 views, I felt it was a good time to hand over the site to someone new. I think a lot of people don’t realise I work full-time, so Blog Preston has always been an additional thing that’s done on top, and I have a family who, if I’m honest, I haven’t always put first due to the demands of Blog Preston as it’s rapidly expanded in audience size and scale.”

Ed will now move to a non-executive role with the company.

He added: “I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed, liked, shared or even talked about Blog Preston. I feel we have a close connection with our readership and that’s allowed us to ensure we’re often first to stories in the city. I’m especially proud of how we’ve been able to grow the contributor base over the years, and re-invest the money made in advertising into community reporting with paid shifts.

It is great that Rachel and Kate have agreed to take on Blog Preston. They are both talented writers, know Preston and will do a superb job at taking Blog Preston forward.”

Kate and Rachel will take on day-to-day running of Blog Preston from early September.

Kate, who is a University of Central Lancashire journalism graduate working in IT, has been writing for Blog Preston in her spare time for 18 months, while Rachel is a former Liverpool Daily Post and Lancashire Evening Post journalist who has been freelance since 2015.

Kate said: “I’m a proud Yorkshirewoman, but when I came to Preston in 2001 for a UCLan open day I just clicked with the place. Now to be taking on such an important part of the community in Blog Preston is amazing. Ed has grown the site from nothing through pure passion and dedication, and I’m really grateful to him for handing over the reins to Rachel and me. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Blog Preston and I hope our readers are too.”

Rachel added: “When Ed first approached me to write for Blog Preston he described it as ‘old fashioned journalism, with modern technology.’ That really appealed to me. Ed has done a fantastic job of growing Blog Preston into a trusted news source which really reflects the community we serve. I’d like to thank Ed for giving me the opportunity to take on the running of the site and look forward to working with Kate.”