Luke will oversee the expanding digital team, driving the brand’s ambitious online growth strategy, says Johnston Press. This includes reaching new audiences and increasing engagement through investment in key content areas, including news, lifestyle, entertainment, money, travel, sport and video. He will identify talent with a recruitment drive for 10 new roles, and work with i’s commercial team to develop solutions for advertising clients.
According to the publishers, Luke’s appointment follows a record month for inews.co.uk, which hit 1.94 million unique browsers in January. This is the best monthly performance for the site since it launched in April 2016, following Johnston Press’s acquisition of the i print newspaper.
Luke joins inews.co.uk from BuzzFeed UK where as founding editor-in-chief, he successfully launched the social news business in the UK in 2013, building its editorial team and significantly expanding audience size. Luke’s other leadership roles at BuzzFeed UK included Head of European Growth, which saw him spearhead expansion into four new territories and launch BuzzFeed’s food brand Tasty in France and Germany, which has quickly become the largest food network in the world.
Luke Lewis, Head of Audience at inews.co.uk, said: "i has been the extraordinary media success story of the past few years. I'm thrilled to be joining inews.co.uk as it gears up for the next phase of growth in such an ambitious investment in digital. I'm excited to take the core qualities that have made i such a success – trusted, efficient, smart – and build this brilliant digital news brand."
Oliver Duff, Editor of i, added: “We are delighted to welcome Luke to the i team. He has a superb track record in building audience for smart, challenger news brands – and in developing new talent. inews.co.uk has won recognition for delivering bitesize news, views and culture for mobile. We're now scaling that up and looking forward to the next exciting chapter with Luke as we grow.”
Luke will begin his new role on Thursday 15th February, reporting into Jeff Moriarty, Johnston Press Chief Digital & Product Officer, and into Oliver Duff, Editor of i. Luke will also work with the wider Johnston Press teams on content projects across the publishing group. His hire is part of a major investment in digital journalism in 2018 across the business, and is further to the recruitment of 32 journalists funded by the BBC as part of their local democracy reporters initiative, 21 editorial staff and 10 specialist digital sales staff, all underway, says Johnston Press.