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Regional news site celebrates first month since launch

Posted on: May 1, 2020 by Mariella Brown

The regional news website HertsLive has celebrated its first full month since launching in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

The website was launched on March 17 on the back of the existing Hertfordshire Mercury to expand news coverage from east Hertfordshire to the whole of the county.

Reach Regionals’ South East content marketing editor Alan Woods has praised the team, saying the site had smashed its target for the first full month.

Woods told the SoE, “HertsLive has had the most brilliant first month. The team has absolutely stepped up to the challenge we have all faced but has continued to produce some brilliant journalism day in, day out.

“We’re now really excited to get out there and integrate within the new communities that we are serving when lockdown restrictions are eased.”

HertsLive was launched just before the Covid-19 lockdown measures were put into place as part of Reach plc’s response to record audience growth in the Essex, Kent and Devon counties.

According to Behind Local News, Reach’s South East websites saw 43% year on year growth in 2019.

Writing on Twitter, HertsLive Digital Content Lead Alasdair Hooper announced his favourite achievements to celebrate the past few weeks, as journalists continued to do their day-to-day job including covering news unrelated to the coronavirus.

Highlights cited included the site’s coverage of the day the bomb squad arrived in Waltham Cross to deal with a suspect package on a local bus, and a story about local community heroes as a Herts landlord transformed his pub into a supermarket for villagers.

Today (May 1), Reach has also launched its ‘Great Big Lockdown Survey’ across national and regional titles to capture the sentiments and details of British life under lockdown.

HertsLive is not the only news outlet to have launched in the midst of the pandemic.

The free weekly newspaper Torbay Weekly published by Archant launched on schedule in early April with a focus on celebrating the local community’s strengths during the Covid-19 emergency.

To ease the increasing financial burden on the industry, the government yesterday announced it will be scrapping VAT on all e-publications and will be supplying a further £35million in advertising revenue between local, regional and national news media.