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July 8, 2020updated 09 Jul 2020 9:10am

Reach to create news wire as part of plan for one editorial team across UK and Ireland

By Charlotte Tobitt

Reach is planning to launch its own news wire as part of its plans to combine its national and regional editorial teams across the UK and Ireland.

The publisher also told staff that two of its long-serving regional editors are stepping down following the announcement it will cut 550 jobs in response to the hit to its revenue caused by Covid-19.

Liverpool Echo editor and North West editor-in-chief Ali Machray and Bristol Post editor and editor-in-chief for Reach West Mike Norton are both stepping down.

Reach group editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley (pictured) and managing director Alan Edmunds told staff the news wire will become “integral” to every Reach title and will “enable the sharing of our journalism across platforms and products”.

Press Gazette understands the wire service will only be internal. It will be headed up by Michael Greenwood, currently executive editor, who will develop it, with “several” new roles created.

The project to create one editorial team across Reach’s nationals, regionals, Scotland and Ireland will be headed up by Mirror editor Alison Phillips, Express editor Gary Jones, Star editor Jon Clark, chief audience officer David Higgerson and head of magazines and supplements Caroline Waterston.

Embley and Edmunds said: “The aim of these changes is to protect our newsbrands for the long term and enable us to innovate and develop new products and services.”

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There will be a new group showbiz vertical, with the pair calling this a “critical content area for our continued growth”, while the Mirror, Express and Star will merge their digital and print operations into “brand teams”.

Photographers across the company will come together under one group head of pictures while the regional shared content unit and the nationals’ advanced features team will merge.

At the regionals, four marketplace publishers will be responsible for the print titles and their market positioning.

Working alongside them will be audience and content directors who have been appointed across different regions to run local newsrooms and work as part of the digital editorial leadership team. Local editors will report to them.

Bristol Post’s Norton is leaving at the end of this week after 15 years as editor.

He said: “Growing up in Bristol, my first job was delivering the Evening Post and I feel very lucky to have realised my ambition to edit my hometown newspaper. While it’s been a huge challenge to navigate the Post through very difficult economic times and a media landscape fragmented beyond recognition, I feel very fortunate to have had a 15-year backstage pass to the highs and lows of the city I love.

“Under my editorship, I have always strived to put the Post and Bristol Live at the leading edge of news and debate in the city and to celebrate, champion and – sometimes – challenge my fellow Bristolians. I have also worked hard to re-connect the Post with Bristol’s BAME communities and to make its content and its workforce more representative of the city it serves.

“Most significantly, I have been privileged to work with hugely talented people. Anything I have achieved will always be down to them. I will miss them very much and wish them every success in the future.”

Meanwhile Machray (pictured, left) will leave the Liverpool Echo, also after 15 years, but will work with Reach on specific projects until the autumn.

Echo senior editor Maria Breslin will take the role of editor.

Machray said: “I believe the time is right, personally and professionally, to allow others to drive the business forward and face up to the exciting challenges ahead.

“I am extraordinarily proud to have edited the greatest brand in regional journalism and it’s now time for the Echo to enjoy fresh ideas and impetus.”

Picture: Society of Editors

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