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Anglophone news site The Local has opened an office and accompanying website in Spain, with an Italian branch due to open in April.

These additions join the established Swedish, German, Swiss, French and Norwegian editions in providing local news, features and information to English-speaking expats.

"If you're moving to a new country to follow a partner or for work you've got really extreme needs that you need to find out all at once," co-founder and managing editor James Savage told Journalism.co.uk, "about housing, about getting a job, or just getting a feeling for the country and having something to talk about with your new Spanish or Italian or French friends.

"You want to be able to plug in immediately to what's going on there."

The Local was founded in Stockholm in 2004 by Savage and Paul Rapacioli, aimed at providing serious and engaging news reporting for ex-pats. Once the model proved successful in Sweden they realised there was a demand in other countries for similar content.

"While they are all very different places," Savage said, "the foreign communities in those countries, or significant parts of the foreign communities in those countries, have very similar backgrounds and very similar interests and very similar needs."

Savage explained that while international news organisations like the BBC may cover large stories that go global, The Local reports on the medium-level stories that are relevant and happening "under the surface", therefore keeping English-speaking expats up to date with events that have parallel coverage in the country's own national press.

While the offices generally have a core editorial team of native English speakers they also employ a network of freelancers to get more complete coverage of news. And, despite the focus being on English, the sites are intended to be a news resource for anyone, not just those who have English as a first-language.

"If you look at our mature markets in Sweden and Germany our readers come from everywhere," said Savage. "So we have get-togethers for our readers in Sweden, and we meet them and we have, as well as Brits and Americans, a lot of Indians, French people, Germans, South Americans, people from everywhere.

"I know there are a lot of Indian people who come to Germany to work as software engineers and they form a reasonably large part of our audience there. It's very much not news about Spain or wherever just for Brits. If you speak better English than you do Spanish then we're for you, that's the way we look at it."

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