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April 16 2010


Media Release: Birmingham Post launches sister title Birmingham Post Lite

As reported by The Business Desk West Midlands earlier this week, Trinity Mirror is launching a new freesheet as a sister paper to the paid-for Birmingham Post, which changed from a daily to weekly publication last year.

Birmingham Post Lite will be delivered to around 18,000 homes in the south Birmingham areas of Harborne and Moseley and will contain a selection of the Birmingham Post’s editorial content and material from its Post Property magazine, says a release.

The new newspaper will not carry the paid-for Post’s specialised business
and financial news. Instead it will combine south Birmingham news with the features and leisure content from the Post’s award-winning team.

The BusinessDesk (TBD) had the date pegged as April 22, but suggests the launch is a direct response to plans for a new rival title, the Birmingham Press, from newspaper entrepreneur Chris Bullivant.

“The title (…) is intended to go head-to-head with the Press in the battle to secure advertising from the city’s mid-market estate agents,” says TBD’s report.

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January 27 2010


Former Birmingham Post editor to launch West Midlands business site

It is thought that Marc Reeves, former editor of the Birmingham Post, is to launch a West Midlands franchise of the Businessdesk.com.
First publicly reported on Jon Slattery’s blog and on the Drum (in a story with a dead link), it follows industry speculation and hints of pastures new on Reeves’ blog.
It is thought that the site will be run by Reeves – who left the Post at the end of 2009 when the the Trinity Mirror title went weekly – and two other journalists. One of the journalists involved is believed to be the former Birmingham Post deputy business editor, Duncan Tift.
It is understood that Reeves has begun offering banner advertising for the new site.
Reeves, who we were unable to contact today, was recently appointed to the panel to decide the Independently Funded News Consortia pilots.
The Business Desk, who could not be contacted for comment today either, was launched in 2007 as business online-only news site for Yorkshire, by former Yorkshire Post business editor, David Parkin. Former Yorkshire Post journalists Ian Briggs and Anastasia Weiner also joined the site.
In 2008, the Business Desk also launched in the north west. At the time Parkin told Journalism.co.uk:
“We think it can work in every region in the country. We’ve got to see how it goes in the north west, but we don’t want to stop here.”
“We are purely online, that’s all we do. All the other players in the area have a print product to support,” he added.
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January 02 2010


A video every regional newspaper editor (and journalist) should watch

Former Birmingham Post editor Marc Reeves made the following speech “Does business news no longer make for a good business?” to Warwick Business School back in October 2009 (while he was still in post).

Although ostensibly focused on business journalism, it is also a succinct analysis of the current state of newspaper publishing and the true nature of its economic model, with some suggestions for what could well become a blueprint for the future recovery of the industry.

You can also read a full transcript of the speech on Reeves’ own blog.

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December 23 2009


The Drum: Marc Reeves on leaving the Birmngham Post

On New Year’s Day 2010, I will for the first time in 25 years not be employed by a newspaper publisher.

Marc Reeves, outgoing editor of the Birmingham Post, describes his reasons for not only leaving the paper, but leaving the newspaper industry altogether.

(…) I’ve decided to get out, not because I think there’s no future in newspapers, but because I believe that they and and a whole new generation of media brands and services are more sustainable if they’re unencumbered by the legacy and costly infrastructure of the big media owners.

Reeves does think there could be a reversal in fortunes for some large regional groups, but adds:

There may even be newspapers that, having taken radical steps to meet the challenge, will improve their circulation performance (note performance – not sales). The trick for the big companies is to keep all these plates spinning long enough to reach the moment when revenue from their digital operations is sufficient to underpin the whole business.

Full post at this link…

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December 19 2009


Why it pays to respond to your comments

This story was originally published at Poynter. Republished here for archiving purposes.


Newspapers take a lot of flak when they or mis-attribute or fail to acknowledge the work of bloggers and members of the public in reporting a story, so it was refreshing to see my two local newspapers quickly respond to amend online reports following a number of corrective comments. But more interesting was to see how they reaped the benefits of that responsiveness.

One story – about the council’s £2.2m overspend on a new website - said it was based on a Freedom of Information request by “a member of the public”. Public Affairs Editor Paul Dale, who told me he spotted the story following a tweet, failed to mention that that “member of the public” was actually Heather Brooke, the investigative journalist who helped break the MPs’ expenses scandal – or that she submitted the FOI request as part of an investigation on Help Me Investigate, on which she works (the tweet and the FOI request both credited Help Me Investigate by the way).


The newspaper’s multimedia editor Steve Nicholls quickly amended the story following a comment. But note what happened next: because The Birmingham Post responded positively, I returned to the site and commented again. And I told my friends, who told their friends, many of whom clicked on a link and visited the piece, and some of whom – who had never commented on a Post story before - registered in order to congratulate the Post on their responsibility (see screengrab above).

So through simply being responsive to comments and acknowledging a mistake, that newspaper benefited from extra pageviews, extra time spent on the site, extra registrations and extra comments – not to mention the intangible goodwill generated towards the paper (and hopefully a few new print sales too).

Pete Ashton pointed out that their response may simply have been due to the person commenting, but this wasn’t an isolated example. A previous story (also generated by Help Me Investigate) looked at the most-ticketed streets in Birmingham – the comments thread demonstrated a similar responsiveness to different commenters – this time from reporter Tom Scotney (see screengrab below).

I know a lot of news organisations are implementing online strategies to both increase the number of pageviews and the amount of time people spend on the site –  giving journalists and multimedia editors time to respond to comments and correct copy in this way has to be one of the most sensible planks of any such strategy.

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