Newsquest Media Group, publisher of the Hereford Times, has announced plans for a new £1.5 million investment to create 50 new roles in regional titles across the country.

The firm, which owns more than 200 news brands, says increased focus on local digital publications in the past few years has helped it grow its readership.

It said the success of digital subscriptions had enabled it to have “confidence” in new investment.

Of the 50 new roles, 32 will be local digital journalists assigned to specific brands at newsrooms across the UK.

Offices include Hereford, Glasgow, North Wales, Essex, Hampshire, Dorset, Bolton, Lancashire, Darlington, Durham, Yorkshire, Wales, Somerset, South London, Sussex, Worcester, Oxford, Wiltshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Cumbria.

Three more roles will be for local digital sport journalists in Bolton, Glasgow and Southampton.

The company is also launching a regional SEO (search engine optimisation) content team consisting of 14 regional SEO content journalists and an SEO content editor who will manage the team and create local content.

Henry Faure Walker, chief executive officer, of Newsquest Media Group, said: “The focus that we have placed on growing engaged local digital audiences over the last few years is paying off, with most of our sites now reaching almost 80 per cent of their local population.

“This coupled with the success we are having with digital subscriptions, gives us the confidence to launch a major expansion in local journalism.

“This investment underlines our commitment to those towns and cities where our local brands have been the number one news provider for decades.

“We look forward to welcoming new talented digital journalists to join our teams in local newsrooms embedded in communities up and down the country.”