In this year’s bidding process, Reach announced it will employ 75 of the 165 LDRs, remaining the largest partner in the scheme.
Reach also gained LDR contracts in areas previously won by other publishers - notably within London, Glasgow and Edinburgh, beating bids by longer-established city brands, says the company.
In order to better facilitate the scheme, Reach currently employs four LDR editors and an overall Democracy Editor to support the reporters and their coverage, as well as investing in further training from external partners. This year, three additional new roles will be recruited to help support the LDRs in London, Scotland and the South East.
Since the scheme’s conception, the BBC have held two annual awards for the Local Democracy Reporters and both years the top award, Local Democracy Reporter of the Year, has gone to reporters employed by Reach - Gurdip Thandi from BirminghamLive and Leigh Boobyer from GloucestershireLive.
Journalism produced by the Reach LDRs includes Leigh Boobyer's investigation linking last year's Cheltenham Festival to a significant spread of Coronavirus cases and more recently, this week’s viral footage (taken by Stephen Sumner) showing Keir Starmer being accosted by a publican during a walkabout in Bath.
David Higgerson, Chief Audience Officer for Reach, led the bid for the publisher and said: "We are delighted with the faith the Local News Partnership has shown in Reach's applications to run local democracy reporter contracts, not least because it’s been an even more rigorous application process this year. We take this responsibility very seriously, to not only promote the health of local news but also to nurture some of the brightest new journalistic talent across the UK.
"During our time with the scheme over the past three years we’ve worked hard to produce stories which provide great content, not only for us but also for our other publishing partners. We believe whole-heartedly in the long-term importance of this scheme, which is why we have invested in additional infrastructure and senior journalists to support it.”
The new LDR cohort will begin in July.
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