MyLondon exceeds standard pageviews

My London, Reach’s news site for the UK capital, exceeded the Evening Standard on a key industry audience metric.

MyLondon reached 31 million UK pageviews in September, up from 30 million overall for the Evening Standard – according to data from Ipsos Mori, the industry-recognized audience data provider .

However, The Standard is still ahead of MyLondon in terms of unique visitors to the UK per month: 10.8 million vs. 6.7 million, and in time spent reading the site: 53 million minutes vs. 15 million minutes per month. month.

My London was launched at the end of 2018 with a team of around eight journalists and has grown this year from a team of 20 to 70 after investing in current affairs, current affairs and specialist roles such as a dedicated editor to race and diversity.

By the end of 2021, the number of newsrooms should reach nearly 90.

My London was Reach’s first attempt to provide an information brand for the entire UK capital, having created the website by merging its Get West London and Croydon Advertiser brands.

The website is now Reach’s third-largest regional newsroom, behind the Manchester Evening News which has around 85 newsrooms and the Liverpool Echo in second place – although a major recruitment drive is underway in regional headlines. by Reach.

My editorial director in London, Liz Hazelton, told Press Gazette that the site’s rapid growth could be attributed largely to the investment in staff dedicated to it.

She said it was about having ‘the ambition to say that we can see a great opportunity here and that we are ready to send journalists to London in a way that no one has ever done, I think, not for very long ”.

She added that there is “not really a publication that serves a mass market in London at the moment”.

“We’re not really for multimillionaires, we can be for them too, but we’re actually for everyone who lives in London, loves London, lives London like we all really do.”

Hazelton, who was Mirror Online’s associate editor for three years and also worked on Reach’s customer value strategy before joining My London in early 2021, said the site had more ‘boots on the ground’ than its competitors.

This helps cover every borough and means its reporters don’t show up just once, but can build appropriate relationships in communities, she said.

The hiring wave has also focused on recruiting people from a wide range of backgrounds, meaning they can speak better to the diverse communities of London.

Asked about examples of what worked on My London, Hazelton told a community reporter Ruby Gregory’s work on social housing and work by chief journalist Zak Garner-Purkis has just been nominated for a British Journalism Award, including an investigation into Crossrail delays and interviews with former classmates of Shamima Begum.

The recent appointment of former Left Foot Forward editor Josiah Mortimer as town hall editor will also help the site develop political coverage beyond Westminster, Hazelton said. It was once shocked at town hall meetings that any member of the public was present, let alone a reporter.

My London also employs nine of the 13 BBC-funded local democracy reporters in the city.

Having that kind of extra control can only make a difference, Hazelton said. After the catastrophic Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, some claimed security concerns were raised before the decline of the local London press.

“We know we’re changing things in a very small way,” Hazelton said. “Even with people having terrible problems with their homes, we already know that the owners mysteriously came in and suddenly fixed a few things and maybe killed the rats.

“We can make a difference. I think it’s very easy to say in journalism that we can’t tell the difference, but I think actually we can and I just think being in places, asking questions, finding out what’s really going on. , not just presume that’s what happens on a press release board – I mean, that’s gonna make a difference, right? I don’t see how he can’t.

Currently, My London’s traffic comes mostly from social media or search, but Hazelton said the plan is to increase direct traffic next year. This will come by increasing reader loyalty with newsletters and identifying the types of stories people connect with the most, she said.

“We really want to reflect the whole spectrum of London life so yeah there’s a lot of really serious stuff but yeah we’ll write about restaurants and we’ll write showbiz and we’ll write the entertainment side of things as well. Hazelton said.

“So you get this really vibrant, vibrant product that people really want to come back to. “

Reach Audience Manager David Higgerson added: “As exciting as this milestone is, I really think this is just the start of My London and a sign of things to come for many of our others. regional sites.

“We are extremely ambitious about My London’s potential not only to grow, but also to gain a truly loyal following and to become an essential part of London life.”

[Read more: 2020 was ‘the year when people rediscovered local news’]

A spokesperson for The Evening Standard said, “The Evening Standard is committed to doubling down on multiplatform journalism and engaging in direct conversation with our readers. Over the past year, we have undertaken a complete site redesign for our desktop and mobile products, and launched new targeted digital channels building on the core strengths of paper.

“Standard.co.uk is a fast-paced news website that delivers perfectly streamlined local-global content focused on London news to a growing audience across the UK and internationally. “

My London has consistently topped the Press Gazette’s list of the fastest growing UK websites, which use Similarweb numbers rather than the new Ipsos Iris nmetric. These are different because Similarweb defines a visit (session) as a visitor accessing one or more pages of a website and subsequent pageviews are included in the same visit until the user is inactive for more 30 minutes.

In September, My London recorded the third highest growth with visits up 50%, from 5.4m to 8.1m. Standard placed 18e in our table of the 50 best English news websites in UK in September with 15.8 million visits and a 14% decline year-on-year, with My London in 24e place.

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About George H. McWhorter

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