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February 24, 2022updated 30 Sep 2022 11:04am

Reach launches new email newsletters with 12-strong team backed by Google cash

By Andrew Kersley

Regional media giant Reach is creating 12 new jobs launching local email newsletters with financial and technical backing from Google.

Cities including Bristol, Lancashire, Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham are all set to receive their own daily bulletins.

The launches are set to include a series of “passion-based” newsletters focusing on communities of interest in and around Bristol, borough newsletters for Walthamstow and Croydon, and local interest newsletters in Lancashire.

The newly created roles will be part of an Email Innovation Lab, set to be led by innovation editor Paul Gallagher and helped by funding from the Google Digital News Initiative. The “Lab” will help manage the new newsletters, as well as Reach’s current selection of email bulletins, alongside an array of dedicated newsletter editors that have already been put in place.

The tech giant will also provide Reach’s newsletter team with an array of technical advice on digital infrastructure, personalisation and analytics.

The publisher declined to reveal how much money it has been awarded by the tech giant as part of the new partnership. Google had not responded to our question about the size of the funding at time of publication.

Google has previously awarded €150m in funding to various publications around Europe under the Google News Initiative in publicly-announced grants.

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Reach said it sends 300 million emails to its subscribers each month, with a slate of 400 different topics covered since first expanding its email newsletter coverage in 2020.

It said page views from newsletters increased by 127% from 22.2 million in January 2021 to 52.8 million in December.

The news comes after an array of regional newsletter projects have seen significant success in both the UK and abroad. The Manchester Mill, and sister titles The Liverpool Post and Sheffield Tribune, all launched during the pandemic, with the former promising to offer “a new kind of local news”.

Each title has a team of journalists creating long-form articles that are sent to subscribers daily, with content ranging from features to deep-dive investigations.

The Mill celebrated passing 1,000 paying members by having a one-off 15,000 copy print run in December 2021.

Reach’s new bulletin for Manchester – The Mancunian Way – is set to offer an in-depth look at the news in the city region, in a not dissimilar manner to The Mill.

In the US, news outlets Axios and 6am City have launched 42 local newsletters between them, covering more than 20 states.

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, Strategic Relationships, News & 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.

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