Five new editorial jobs are being created at publisher Reach as it expands its South West newsbrands following “record” growth in the past year.
The company said its Cornwall Live and Devon Live websites recorded year-on-year growth of 70 per cent and 35 per cent respectively to a combined 25m monthly page views.
Each news website reaches more than 100,000 “loyal” readers a month, Reach said. The sites are part of its expanding online network of regional titles, separate to its print products serving the same areas.
The two websites will now launch new dedicated sections of their websites, covering regions within the counties they serve, as well as daily email newsletters for registered users in those areas.
Cornwall Live will add Truro Live, with the creation of two community reporter roles.
Devon Live will add the Torbay Live and Exeter Live sections, hiring two reporters and a content editor.
It comes after rival regional publisher Archant announced last month that it planned to launch a new website and weekly newspaper to serve the Torbay area of South Devon between April and June.
Bill Martin, Reach’s editor-in-chief for the South West, said: “Our journalists are committed to telling the important stories which matter to readers in a way in which resonates across our region.
“Our approach of being first with the news, campaigning for the region and not being afraid to have a smile with our readers is why we now welcome so many people to our sites every month.
“This growth has given us the confidence to invest in new roles, which will mean we can serve readers better than ever before.”
Reach said content from the new digital staff would be used in its print titles, which include the Torquay Herald Express, West Briton, Cornish Guardian, The Cornishman, Exeter Express and Echo and Western Morning News.
David Higgerson, Reach’s chief audience officer, said: “Our talented team in the South West is reaching more people than ever before because they are prepared to do things differently, and build news around readers, rather than expecting readers and advertisers to fit around the way we’ve always done things in the past.
“The growth has been spectacular, and underpinned by a commitment to quality, local journalism which has meant both sites have demonstrated you can have both scale and quality engagement at the same time.
“The launch of the three new brands is an exciting innovation for us, which we hope we will be able to repeat across the country as ever more local people turn to us every day.”
Mirror, Express and Star publisher Reach previously announced plans to launch at least seven new regional “Live” websites covering Sunderland, County Durham, Sheffield, North Yorkshire, Bradford, Newport and Bolton this year, with the recruitment of 46 journalists.
But its national titles have seen job cuts in the past year as the news group integrates teams following its buyout of the Express and Star titles.