Reach PLC has revealed plans to launch 7 new regional websites under its “Live” brand, creating 46 new jobs.
It will mean expanding into areas previously only covered by rival publishers, including Sunderland, County Durham, Sheffield, Bradford, North Yorkshire and Bolton.
Reach said that the new Yorkshire operations, in addition to its existing Leeds Live website, meant that the publisher would have a dedicated presence across the county for the first time.
“We have already seen rapid growth across the entire Live network this year, including in cases where we’ve established completely new brands and grown new audiences,’ explained Reach Chief Executive, Jim Mullen.
“Our digital regional proposition presents a major opportunity to expand our readership even further with the Live brand. Now is the time to expand this proven model on an even bigger scale and bring our journalism to even more communities across the country.”
As a result of the decision, Neil Hodgkinson, who was previously Reach’s Editor-in-Chief of the North East, Humber and Lincolnshire will become Editor-in-Chief of Yorkshire and Humber.
Helen Dalby, who had been Senior Editor and Head of Digital in the North East, now becomes Editor-in-Chief for the North East. Dalby’s move is particularly significant, because, according to the publisher, she is the first Editor-in-Chief to rise through the ranks from being a digital journalist.
The first site is expected to go live in February.