Reach is boosting staff on its London-wide news website by 50% after building a monthly audience of almost 5m per month by blending breaking news with content appealing to readers’ “spirit of local identity”.
My London launched at the start of 2019 by merging the Croydon Advertiser and Get West London websites and moving into north, east and south London territory for the first time.
It claims to have become one of the ten biggest regional news websites in the UK and reached 4.8m visitors in October, according to Comscore, marking 9% month-on-month growth. Internal Reach metrics show visitor growth of 59% year-on-year.
Reach is now preparing to add 24 new roles across My London and its sister sport website Football London. The two sites currently have 40 members of staff between them.
The new roles for My London include 13 reporters (trainees or seniors), a district chief reporter, a content editor, a head of boroughs news, two audience editors, and two engagement producers.
The job adverts indicate the website looks to appeal to younger readers than its rivals and therefore encourages reporters to “have fun with their writing where it is appropriate”.
It is also seeking new perspectives from journalists who can tell stories from London’s many communities “so we can continue to diversify our content”.
Reach chief audience officer David Higgerson (pictured) told Press Gazette: “We want to be a news site for Londoners, and are well on our way to achieving that.
“Ultimately, we want to be able to provide the same sort of local news service for people in London which people in Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle enjoy.”
Reach, which is the UK’s largest newspaper publisher, owns the flagship regional titles Liverpool Echo, Manchester Evening News and Newcastle Chronicle.
Since the launch of Belfast Live in February 2015, Reach has built up a roster of standalone websites under the Live branding in cities where it did not have a print presence including Dublin, Edinburgh, Leeds and Glasgow.
Reach has also created some hyperlocal sections of its bigger websites to create “further depth” to certain patches: the MEN website added My Bolton, My Bury and My Wigan brands in March and Higgerson said readers are already reading more stories per visit in those areas.
“Across the country in recent years, we’ve demonstrated we can launch in new markets and grow audiences, both in terms of scale and loyalty, quickly,” Higgerson said.
“We do this by listening to what readers want and then providing them with those stories. In doing this, we build a relationship which allows us to show stories we think they need to read too.
“We want to repeat this in London. We have successfully built an audience by covering breaking news and what we call ‘identity’ content – articles which appeal to readers’ spirit of local identity.
“When we look at other parts of our network, be it Manchester, Birmingham or Yorkshire, we see the importance of more localised news, and the number of people it appeals to.”