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Former Reach editors team up to launch new business

Two senior editors who left publishing giant Reach plc earlier this year are teaming up to launch their own business.

Ed Walker, who held a number of senior positions over the course of 14 years with Reach, is launching new audience development consultancy Alma, based in Lancashire.

Joining him in the business will be Luke Beardsworth, who was launch editor of Lancashire Live from 2019-2022 before setting up Reach’s social media content brand, Curiously.

Both Luke and Ed left Reach earlier this year amid a wave of senior departures from the business.


The Alma team: From left, Ed Walker, Shirah Bamber and Luke Beardsworth.

They will be joined at Alma by Shirah Bamber, who spent eight years in Preston City Council’s press office before becoming head of comms for Network Plus.

The new business will offer a range of services including digital media consultancy, communications, and delivering bespoke training and workshops.

Said Ed: “I’ve been fortunate to be able to take some time to consider the next move for me and it’s really exciting to be working with Shirah and Luke to combine and blend our skills and experiences.

“Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to have conversations in the last few months and I feel there’s a real opportunity in the audience development space to work not only with media brands – at both the early stages and later stages of their digital journeys but also a lot of skills and techniques I’ve learned can be applied to other sectors too.

“We’re interested in working with businesses who are working with and creating digital content and looking to either get going with a new project or need help accelerating an existing one.

“There’s some really interesting conversations we’ve been having on a number of projects and hope to be able to say more on those in the weeks and months ahead.”

Luke added: “Through Alma, we will able to work with clients across the UK in a variety of sectors – helping them to better understand, grow, and engage with their audiences.

“Our varied range of skills and experience complement each other, providing a stronger offer.”

And Shirah said: “I am looking forward to collaborating with Ed and Luke to offer clients a wide skillset and comprehensive approach to reaching a diverse range of audiences.

“With decades of experience in journalism, communications, and engagement between us, we will help clients find the right solution to achieve their ambitions.”

Ed held a number of senior roles with Reach PLC including audience and content director (audience delivery), and editor-in-chief of hyperlocal platform InYour Area.

He also worked on the company’s US launches, led its central editorial team, launched its network content team (Tendendo) and created late newsdesk service Night Owl, supporting regional titles with evening publishing.

Luke worked for a number of local titles across the UK, including the Birmingham Mail, Bristol Post, Plymouth Herald, Hull Daily Mail, and Burton Mail before launching LancsLive in 2019.

Since leaving Curiously, he has worked with local businesses on campaigns, profile boosting and more.