UK news giant Reach has confirmed plans to launch dedicated US operations for the Mirror, Express and Irish Star in 2023.
Press Gazette revealed in September that the UK’s biggest commercial publisher was considering the idea, which follows a similar US launch by The Sun in 2020.
Reach confirmed on Thursday it planned to grow the American audience for the Mirror and Express brands with a New York office and new tranche of staff.
More bespoke US-focused content in new verticals on their existing .co.uk websites will begin to be published early in 2023 ahead of their respective .com launches, Press Gazette understands.
Reach will also launch a .com online presence for the currently print-only Irish Star to chase the “sizeable” Irish American population using dedicated correspondents in New York City, Boston and Pennsylvania.
Holding pages for each of the .com domains are now live, revealing the brands’ US logos and telling visitors: “We’re working hard to finish the development of this site so check back soon!” The domains are the-express.com, themirror.com and irishstar.com.
Press Gazette understands staff for the US operations will ultimately number about 100 by the end of 2023, although the job hiring process will be staggered rather than all coming at once.
Reach said it would begin hiring journalists already based in the US in the “coming months” while existing staff will also be offered the chance to apply for roles and secondments across the Atlantic. The company will also begin the process of procuring a New York office.
Recruitment for reporting, social media, multimedia and editor roles have already begun, with the view of the jobs starting in the New Year.
Belfast Live editor Ryan Smith revealed on Twitter he would be moving to New York in early 2023 to edit the Irish Star’s US operation.
Group editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley, who has led the venture with chief digital publisher David Higgerson, said: “The experience and data we’ve gathered over recent years, both on our existing national titles and from launching dozens of newsbrands from scratch, will ensure we are in a strong position to take advantage of this opportunity to reach millions more readers every day.”
Being able to bolster its 24/7 sports coverage would also be a boon, Reach said, as the new operation will be able to better serve US-based football fans (or soccer as it is known there) at sites like the Manchester Evening News, Football London and Liverpool FC site Liverpool.com.
Reach’s marketplace publisher for Ireland Joanne McGreevy said: “Planning for digital growth and expansion of the Irish Star has been a focus for Reach Ireland since we acquired the business in December 2020 and we are excited by the audience opportunity that this represents both at home and in the US.”
The Sun launched its US website, with new content aimed at US audiences as well as bolstering its existing royal and entertainment coverage that was already popular with Americans, in January 2020.
It has since become the 22nd biggest news website in the US and its editors told Press Gazette in October they continue to have “incredibly ambitious aspirations” and “don’t really see a ceiling” on how far they can grow.
Meanwhile another UK-first newsbrand Mail Online, which has published as Dailymail.com in the US since 2014 with a heavy focus on celebrity news, is the 11th biggest on Press Gazette’s US newsbrand ranking.
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