Massive Changes to Print Media in Birmingham

Trinity Mirror has today announced sweeping changes to their Birmingham newspaper empire.

As had already been discussed, the Birmingham Post is to become a weekly publication from next month. But in addition to this, the Birmingham Mail will become an overnight/morning title. The editors of both papers are leaving and there will be at least 40 redundancies across the group.

It comes as a massive blow to journalists across the city but was surely inevitable with the changes to the way people consume news nowadays?

I enjoy the Birmingham Post with its business and political coverage, but I nearly always browse it online. Ironically I bought a printed copy today for the first time in months.

UPDATE: The Editor of the Bimingham Post Marc Reeves has blogged about the changes, saying an electronic version of the Post will still be produced daily:

"Alongside the relaunch of the print title, a brand new version of the Post will be delivered by email directly to your inbox every morning for you to scan at your screen, on your phone, your PDA - or even to print off and read in the old-fashioned way.

Together, the print and digital formats will deliver an unrivalled service. The stresses of the current economic downturn may well have hastened our move to become a genuinely multi-media title, but the result will be a paper that's better placed than almost any other to meet the challenges of the digital age by fusing innovation with its traditional values."


Birmingham City Council In “Useful Website” Shocker!

Birmingham News Room logo

After years of putting up with a sub-standard city council website that's extremely difficult to navigate or find the information you require, we finally have something useful in the form of BirminghamNewsRoom.com.

One intruiging aspect is the News Feed function, which displays RSS feeds from not only the local mainstream media (Post, Mail, BBC) but also Adrian Goldberg's gossip website The Stirrer. With a fair amount of articles critical of the Council it's a brave move - one I'm very pleased with.

The geek in me is very excited about the site and its potential - assuming this is just the first step. I'm hopeful it will facilitate a really useful conversation between local government and local residents. Am I hoping for too much?

Let's wait and see.

(via Podnosh)


New TV Station for Birmingham

The Stirrer reveals plans for a new TV station for the city. The trailer sums everything up well and there seems to be some good industry folk involved.

The trailer promises "local politics and business news" which could make for some interesting times ahead.

One thing I would like to see is the children of the city given the opportunity to get involved. Budding media stars in Ladywood are already given the opportunity to learn about presenting and producing shows through the fantastic TNT Ladywood - how I'd love to see this transferred to the TV.


Birmingham Eastside Park Unveiled

The first pictures of the long-awaited plans for Birmingham's Eastside Park have been revealed by the Birmingham Post. The paper describes the park as "a mile-long, shaped like a hockey stick" and "it will be divided into seven themed segments with a water feature and walkway running throughout linking them all."

Looks good to me. The Council-funded project will go before the Cabinet in September and if approved will provide a centrepiece for the proposed Digital District.

Coun Timothy Huxtable has suggested a competition to find a suitable name. I'd go for anything that isn't "Eastside Park"! Perhaps something associated with the Digital District plan? Feel free to leave your ideas...


Sounds Great, But What Is A Digital District?

At today's regional launch of the Digital Britain report, Lib Dem group leader (and Deputy Leader of the City Council!) Cllr Paul Tilsley revealed Birmingham will create a "Digital District" spanning the Digbeth / Eastside part of the city centre.

He said, "Birmingham will create a ‘Digital District’ that brings together the innovative, learning and creative sectors enabled through a next generation hi-speed broadband infrastructure. Spanning several hundred acres from the creative industries in Digbeth, our science and technology sectors at Birmingham Science Park and our world class developments at Eastside, it will provide an exciting environment for our creative industries and young entrepreneurs."

Now I would say Digbeth, specifically the growing Custard Factory complex, together with Aston University and the Millennium Point campus of BCU already meet that description. So what else will be on offer above and beyond high-speed broadband?

While I'm not quite as sceptical as B:INS, I do hope this isn't just a rebrand of what is already there, and there will be some form of investment programme unveiled to provide the meat on the bones.

Let's wait and see...
Update: You can hear the Cllr Paul Tilsley speech here courtesy of Rhubarb Radio.


Digital Britain for Birmingham

I've done my best to wade through the Digital Britain report this evening, but I hold my hands up and say I've got nowhere near it! It's a beefier document than I expected. My initial thoughts are cautiously positive, although there are plenty of points I'd like to have seen included or expanded on. I'm also not convinced about the 50p landline tax.

Rather than spew out my thoughts sporadically I'm going to take my time giving the document a thorough review to gauge its impact on Birmingham. In the meantime, keep an eye on Rhubarb Radio's fantastic Digital Britain mini-site which will carry live coverage of tomorrow's big debate at the ICC.

More soon.