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Twelve jobs created as publisher wins Google funding for local journalism

Paul GallagherTwelve new jobs have been created as part of a Google-funded bid to help a regional publisher “amplify local journalism”.

Reach plc has announced an expansion of its digital newsletter strategy with financial support from Google’s Digital News Initiative.

As part of the scheme, Reach will launch a series of new daily bulletins for areas including Bristol, Lancashire, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Nottingham.

A dozen new roles have been recruited for the project, known as the “email innovation lab”, including a team of dedicated newsletter editors who will work across regional newsrooms, as well as community and customer relationship management roles.

The lab will be led by the publisher’s innovation editor Paul Gallagher, pictured, and will focus on ways to reach readers “who may not have considered consuming news content with Reach’s local titles before”.

New newsletters to be launched include a series in and around Bristol focusing on communities of interest, as well as The Mancunian Way – a weekday email offering a more in-depth look at issues affecting Greater Manchester.

Geographical bulletins will also be set up to cover Croydon, Walthamstow and different areas of Lancashire.

The project comes after Reach announced the launch of a ‘newsletters-first’ strategy in November, with the company now sending out 300 million emails to subscribers each month.

The publisher says total page views from newsletters also increased by 127pc from 22.2 million in January to 52.8 million in December 2021.

Reach chief audience officer David Higgerson said: “We already reach more people across the country than ever before. We now want to create local communities people can really be part of.

“Partnering with the Google News Initiative enables us to accelerate our learnings and break new ground, uniting our expertise and audience insight to really distill the magic ingredients that encourage people to engage with our content in this format.

“It’s a privilege to be invited into someone’s inbox on a daily basis, and we need to keep working hard and innovating to retain that right.

“The launch of these bulletins will be the first of many as we supercharge our email offering to amplify our local journalism, and provide audiences with the content that matters the most to them.”

Benedicte Autret, head of strategic relationships, wews & publishers at Google, added: “The Google News Initiative works side-by-side with publishers to build a more sustainable, diverse and innovative news ecosystem.

“Local news is more important than ever, and we are happy to support Reach as it experiments with personalised newsletters to increase reader engagement in its local communities – building on many years of close collaboration and partnership.”