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Reach set to launch new standalone city website Edinburgh Live run by team of five journalists

By Charlotte Tobitt

Reach is set to launch its fifth standalone city website in just over three years with a team of five journalists in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Live will replicate the digital-only model already deployed in Belfast, Leeds, Dublin and Glasgow to build a presence in the Scottish capital with its launch, expected soon.

Former Buzzfeed Scotland editor Hilary Mitchell, who left the website when one third of its UK newsroom was made redundant in January, is heading up the venture as editor.

She will be joined by former STV online journalist Neil Pooran and Robert Fairnie, who has moved across from Reach-owned bi-weekly newspaper the Stirling Observer.

In a post published earlier this month, the Edinburgh Live Facebook page said: “Edinburgh Live is an exciting new digital title dedicated to providing up-to-the minute coverage of the latest events, sport and news in Edinburgh.

“It’s your companion to life in Scotland’s capital, bringing you the best the city has to offer, from festivals to food and drink. Whether you live in the old town or the new town, you’ll find out everything you need to know about your town.

“We’re a one-stop shop for the best in Edinburgh, and we’re always here to help you decide where to go to spend your hard-earned cash, showcase the best bars and restaurants, help you entertain the kids and let you know about the latest exciting events.”

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The statement adds that its team of five journalists will “always on hand to provide new angles and fresh perspectives”.

The page, and sister page Edinburgh Live Sport, also promises to be a hub for coverage of Edinburgh’s two main football clubs, Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian, and rugby played at Murrayfield Stadium.

Edinburgh Live will be competing with daily newspaper and website Edinburgh Evening News and its sister publication The Scotsman, both owned by Johnston Press which is headquartered in Edinburgh.

The brand launched on social media in December and has since been growing its following – currently more than 14,000 on Facebook and 900 on Twitter – in Edinburgh by posting native content about the city.

Reach has not yet commented on the launch.

However, in an interview with The Drum this month, the company’s chief executive, Simon Fox, said it was “pretty exciting” and the article claimed the launch would go live this week.

Comparing Edinburgh Live to its predecessors launched by Reach, Fox said: “All of those cities are cities where we don’t have print titles and you can expect to see us opening in other cities in the coming months.”

Belfast Live was launched in February 2015 in a city where Reach, then Trinity Mirror, had no physical or digital presence.

Reach claimed the website gained an audience of more one million unique users in less than five months.

Dublin Live and Glasgow Live followed in its footsteps in April 2016, and Leeds Live came most recently in November last year.

It went live with a team seconded from other Reach publications, and had appointed six permanent members of staff two months later.

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