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Reach to create group-wide content hub with 300 editorial staff

David Higgerson 2022 newPublisher Reach plc has confirmed reports that it plans to create a central team of up to 300 journalists to produce group-wide content.

Chief digital publisher David Higgerson wants to reduce duplication by journalists across the group by having a single editorial hub producing traffic-driving content.

Under the plans, one reporter in the content hub would cover a story rather than multiple journalists on individual titles writing similar stories.

David said this would free up individual titles to focus more on content for their own audiences, including local news.

No jobs are being either lost or created by the move, which follows a pre-Christmas redundancy programme that saw more than 300 journalists leave their posts.

Staff have been told that the hub plan, which is expected to gradually roll out from May, is not about cutting costs and that the recent job losses will be the last for the forseeable future.

Said David, pictured: “This is all about how we allocate our resources. We benefit from a large pool of editorial talent and we believe our size is right.

“Now we have the chance to create a team to build on the kind of large-scale engagement we excel at, while also making space for our brands’ teams to focus more tightly on content for their audiences, whether political opinion or exclusive local news.

“The last time we undertook a similar reshaping of this scale was over ten years ago when many of our regional titles moved to digital-first.

“This changed the game for us then and led us to the dominant online reach we still have today – it’s exciting that the opportunity is once again all to play for.”

According to a report on Press Gazette, the content hub will be led by Jon Livesey, currently head of sport for the Mirror, Express and Star, while Manchester Evening News editor Sarah Lester is set to play a key role.

The proposal follows soon after the announcement of a centralised video and audio team across Reach made up of 120 people creating both editorial and commercial content.

The latest move will see page view targets on individual news brands adjusted so that regional sites are not disadvantaged by no longer producing traffic-driving content.

Reach is also rolling out an AI tool called Gutenbot which will help journalists in the hub to rewrite their stories for different websites.