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Trinity Mirror's new digital strategy for its regional titles will see an increased focus on analytics and a drive to boost audience engagement, the publisher announced yesterday.

Neil Benson, editorial director for regionals at Trinity Mirror, said each newsroom will soon have its own "specialist trends analyst... to help us improve our focus on metrics" as part of the new initiative called Connected Newsroom.

"That will be a focus for everyone at an individual as well as team level, and we will be looking for more ways to publish content in a way that does attract and engage an audience, such as live blogs and multimedia content," he told in an email.

Connected Newsroom builds on the publisher's digital-first strategy introduced last year, Newsroom 3.1, when the focus at Trinity Mirror local titles shifted from producing the newspapers to digital storytelling.

Among the changes introduced with the Newsroom 3.1 roll-out was promoting an awareness of 'audience spikes' online – making the most of the times readers are more likely to be accessing the sites, during morning and evening commutes for example.

"The main challenge in introducing Newsroom 3.1," said Benson, "was that it turned the working day on its head...

"[Reporters] started looking at the audience numbers to get immediate feedback on which stories readers were engaging with.

"We are now extending that with an increased focus on growing the local and engaged audience, but maintaining the digital-first approach and increasing the analytics-led insight."

Connected Newsroom will be implemented from the end of the month across the publisher's core regional centres in Cheshire and North Wales, Manchester, Merseyside, Huddersfield, Wales, and the North East.

The initiative follows the introduction of similar changes in Trinity Mirror's newsrooms in Birmingham and Coventry earlier this year.

The organisation attracted some criticism in June when a memo revealed the publisher planned to introduce audience targets for its reporters, a move which also sparked a wider debate around the importance of analytics in the newsroom.

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