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Publisher launches new political title as part of ‘newsletters-first’ plan

Jonathan WalkerA publisher has launched a new regional political title after revealing a planned ‘newsletters-first’ strategy for its journalists.

Reach plc has announced the launch of Midlands Message, a digital newsletter covering politics and public affairs from across Central England.

The project is being led by Jon Walker, pictured, the Westminster-based political editor of the Birmingham Mail.

He will work on the title’s development with Reach’s political, business and social affairs journalists across the West and East Midlands.

The launch of Midlands Message comes as the publisher prepares to embark on what it has called a ‘newsletters-first’ strategy, set to be trialled in Bristol as well as other as-yet undisclosed regional newsrooms.

Reach has remained tight-lipped so far on the detail of the strategy, but HTFP understands it means journalists will be tasked with engaging more with readers and serving communities related to specific types of interests.

Jon is now solely focusing on Midlands-related political coverage, having previously also been responsible for looking after Parliamentary coverage for Reach’s titles in the North-East of England in the Westminster lobby.

Dan O’Donoghue became Westminster editor for Reach’s titles across the North of England earlier this year after he was poached from the same role at Aberdeen daily the Press & Journal.

In his role, Dan supports Agenda editor Rob Parsons, who was himself poached by Reach from his previous position as political editor of JPIMedia daily the Yorkshire Post.

The launch of Midlands Message follows a similar initiative by Reach in the North, where it launched politics and public affairs newsletter The Northern Agenda in the summer.

A welcome message on the Midlands Message website states: “It’s never been more important for Midlands voices to be heard.

Boris Johnson is promising to ‘level up’ the nation, and it remains to be seen whether he will make good on his promise – or whether the Midlands will be at the top of his agenda, as other parts of the country compete for attention.

“Midlands Message will provide news and expert analysis about the issues that matter, and highlight key stories from journalists across our region.

“We’ll ask what decision-makers at Westminster are doing for the Midlands, and what our leaders here in the region are doing for the people they represent.”