A regional publisher is set to spark a digital news war in the UK’s “major metropolitan centres” with a series of new launches – creating 45 jobs in the process.
JPIMedia has announced it is launching new websites to cover Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow, with further launches to follow in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Wales.
All eight cities are currently home to news sites run by rival publisher Reach plc.
JPIMedia says the new titles will prompt the creation of an initial 32 content roles, as well as eight commercial roles and a number of marketing support positions.
The new sites will be marketed under its ‘World’ brand, following on from the launch of national news site NationalWorld.
JPIMedia owner National World says it is aiming to double its online audience by the end of 2022 with this and other digital initiatives.
The Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow sites will launch on 12 August, with the four further titles to follow.
They will be modelled on Lincolnshire World, a site set up to incorporate content from seven JPIMEdia weekly print titles in the county, and journalists at the titles will be “agile working” in the communities they serve.
Group editor Mark Thompson will lead the new division with support from Sarah Lovell who has been appointed digital sales director.
The editors for each site have been unveiled as Jenny Simpson, in Manchester, Ros Erskine, in Glasgow, Laura Hill, in Newcastle, Dominic Raynor, in Liverpool, Fionnuala Bourke, in Birmingham, Ralph Blackburn, in London, and Alex Ross, in Bristol.
The editor for the Wales site will be announced in the coming weeks.
The new sites will be video-led in partnership with Local TV Ltd, which is chaired by National World executive chairman David Montgomery and will deploy eight TV video journalists to support the JPIMedia teams in each city.
Mr Montgomery said: “We have the talent and resources to be a truly national network of local news brands.
“JPIMedia is at last throwing off the shackles of its geographical limitations to enter major UK communities that are underserved in serious local journalism.”