Tag Archives: Birmingham

BBC: West Midlands Police Tweet from court

The BBC reported today that West Midlands Police sent members of staff to Birmingham Magistrates’ Court to Tweet cases during the course of the morning.

Ch Supt Stephen Anderson said there had been a decline in court reporting in recent years.

He said the initiative was designed to make the public more aware of the cases police deal with.

The force sent its own staff into court for a morning on Tuesday to cover the cases and post them online minutes after they had concluded.

See the full BBC report here…

Are newspapers still sending people to cover court on a regular basis or are only the high profile cases covered?

#JEEcamp: What does the election result mean for publishers and start-ups?

We had breakout groups at today’s JEECamp pre-lunch and I got too absorbed in my chosen session (media law & ethics) to tweet or blog but you can find a summary by @owmyfoothurts here, at this link.

The next session:

Panel: What does the election result mean for publishers and startups? Siôn Simon (former Labour creative industries minister), Matt Wardman (Blogger, The Wardman Wire), Stewart Kirkpatrick (Founder, Caledonian Mercury), and Mark Pack (co-editor, Liberal Democrat Voice).

A few notes:

The session kicks off with a discussion on government data. Sion Simon says he can’t imagine why the new Lib-Con coalition would not proceed with open data plans. But, he says, it would be a new government getting the credit for the spadework a previous government had done.

Then over to blogger Mark Pack: he says there’s huge amount of information out there and it’s a necessity for lots of people outside traditional media to make use of that data. This, he says, will give a huge boost to hyperlocal and outside traditional media coverage. It will be painful for local authorities to be held to account (but it’s important).

Matt Wardman pays tribute to Tom Watson (not in the room) and Sion Simon for their role in the campaign for open data. But for him the big trend is the possible break down of the Westminster “political bubble” and the London “media bubble”, as independent outlets break stories.

How it will the coalition affect reportage?

Sion Simon says we’re in the honeymoon period of government at the moment (Tony Blair’s was ‘like living in a pink candyfloss cloud’ he says).  “Everybody loves it, it’s all great”. But, he adds, all the qualitative research that been done over the past few years shows that the public ask ‘why can’t they all get on with each other’. The public reaction to the coalition then, is positive.

The newspapers are motivated by, or reflect, the readers. Over time, it will give way to a negative dynamic: the tension between the fourth estate and the political classes.  Don’t expect the big society to save the coalition from the press, warns Simon.

Matt Wardman is hopeful for resources such as theyworkforyou.com, where you’ll be able to look up what ministers said 14 years ago. “I want to see that happen at a local level,” he says. Local bloggers need to pick up the sort of skills to do freedom of information requests. He wants to see the sort of skills that are used nationally and used more widely.

The Birmingham City students have liveblogged the session here.

#JEEcamp: Simon Waldman – developing online businesses (beyond what Google would do)

Journalism.co.uk is at JEEcamp in Birmingham today. It’s the third such annual informal event for journalism experimentation and enterprise. But organiser Paul Bradshaw says it will be the last.

I’m trying a One Man and His Blog style live blog today, as long as the dongle holds up. You can also follow #jeecamp tweets here: http://bit.ly/aeb9BV.

First up, Simon Waldman the former digital strategy and development director of Guardian Media Group. His new job is as LOVEFiLM’s product director, and the session so far reflects that cross-sector flexibility.

He’s talking about what people like about the web: challenging authority (through Christmas number one campaigns for example) and stuff that’s free and cheap.

Each time new technology comes out, our behaviour changes, he says. What has wifi changed, for example? Well, we can all sit round tweeting what he is saying. With wifi, you can watch TV and have the laptop on your lap (‘bellyvision’!).

Waldman says he thinks we’ve got another decade of “quite profound change” ahead of us.

He says that  it’s not necessarily a Jeff Jarvis ‘what would Google do’ question, because Google would be doing it. The Guardian’s Sarah Hartley tweeted this great quote: ‘looking at what Google would do and attempting to copy it is like me looking at Rooney & attempting to play football like him’.

Waldman looked at IBM and says that if a company like that can turn its business around, there’s hope for the rest of us.

Companies need to transform their core business, he says: it’s about making sure your business as a whole is in good shape.

Innovation needs tight deadlines and speed. He’s not sure about the Economist’s Project Red Stripe for example. Entrepreneurs get on and do things, he says.

The kind of businesses editors and publishers think about are quite difficult to scale (at this point he says he’s not going to spill any beans about the Guardian – boo!).

There’s a load of challenges ahead – for at least the next decade and a half. Now is a fantastic time to be entrepreneurial, but think really carefully about how big it can be, says Waldman.

Find someone who can help you turn into a real business. “Do brilliant things,” he says.  Waldman can never stop being grateful that his career coincided with digital explosion, he says.

Image courtesy of Adam Tinworth on Flickr

#JEECamp: Follow live

Today we’re up in Birmingham for the JEECamp unconference. Follow the live blog below for tweets and comments from the conference.

JEEcamp is an opportunity for a range of people to get together to talk about how on earth journalists and publishers can make a living from journalism in the era of free information, what the challenges are, and what we’ve learned so far.

You’ll find details of the day at this link: http://jeecamp.pbwiki.com/. It has a flexible agenda, but the keynote will be given by Simon Waldman, digital director, Guardian Media Group.

paidContent:UK: Planned redundancies at Metro

More bad news for the freebie sector: paidContent:UK reports that up to 30 redundancies are planned for Metro’s regional arts and entertainment sections. Parent company DMGT declined to comment.

“Sources close to the paper say it is cutting back drastically on its Metro Life sections – the regionalised arts, entertainment and food pages produced by journalists at Metro’s offices in Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol.”

Full story at this link…

Journalism Daily: Digital magazine store launch, MSN Local and new editor for the Sun

A daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site. You can also sign up to our e-newsletter and subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

News and features:

Ed’s picks:

Tip of the day:


On the Editors’ Blog:

Journalism Daily: BBC video plans, Trinity Midlands strike and perfecting the press release

Journalism.co.uk is going to trial a new service via the Editors’ Blog: a daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site.

We hope you’ll find it useful as a quick digest of what’s gone on during the day (similar to our e-newsletter) and to check that you haven’t missed a posting.

We’ll be testing it out for a couple of weeks, so you can subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

Let us know what you think – all feedback much appreciated.

News and features

Ed’s Picks

Tip of the Day


On the Editors’ Blog

NUJ Release: Strike action halted at Trinity Mirror Birmingham titles

Earlier this afternoon the National Union of Journalists announced that strike action will no longer take place at Trinity Mirror’s Birmingham-based titles after the NUJ chapels ‘secured an agreement for no compulsory redundancies’.

Twenty-four hour industrial action had originally been planned to take place on Thursday.

Full release at this link…


NUJ members at the titles had balloted for action earlier this month, following the announcement of  job cuts and closure of weekly titles.

Trinity Mirror responded to a vote of no confidence in the TM management, via a statement, accusing the NUJ of undermining efforts for the two parties to work together.

Trinity Mirror Regionals: Vote of no confidence in management is ‘publicity-grabbing stunt’

The National Union of Journalists announced yesterday that its members at Trinity Mirror titles in Birmingham have ‘unanimously passed a motion of no confidence in the company’s management of its regional titles.’ NUJ members at the Birmingham titles are currently balloting for action, following the announcement of  job cuts and closure of weekly titles.

Trinity Mirror responded in a statement, accusing the NUJ of undermining efforts for the two parties to work together.

“This is yet another publicity-grabbing stunt by the NUJ which, once again, does absolutely nothing to address the commercial challenges facing our Midlands businesses and completely undermines their claims to be working constructively with us,” said Georgina Harvey, managing director at Trinity Mirror Regionals.

“A point further proved by the fact that, to date, we haven’t received a letter from the NUJ themselves and have only been made aware of its existence by the trade media.

“The NUJ’s constant claim that we are making cuts in the pursuit of short term profit is frankly laughable and insulting. The bottom line is the Midlands business is no longer profitable – it’s running at a loss. Our first priority has to be to stop the losses and reverse the trend. That will involve some hard choices; difficult decisions but necessary ones if we are to save our businesses in the Midlands.”

TM Birmingham chapels’ motion of no confidence

The National Union of Journalists announced today that its members at Trinity Mirror in Birmingham have ‘unanimously passed a motion of no confidence in the company’s management of its regional titles.’

The motion was agreed by the chapels from the Birmingham Post, Mail, Sunday Mercury and Midlands Weekly Media, it said in a release.

“The big newspaper companies are following a policy of slash and burn – and the people who work there have had enough,” said Chris Morley, NUJ Northern organiser and a former father of the Post and Mail chapel.

“Trinity Mirror would rather close titles than put them up for sale – giving them the chance to survive under another owner.

“The Walsall Observer used to sell more than 30,000 copies a week. It is a much-loved local institution.”

NUJ members at the Birmingham titles are currently balloting for action, following the announcement of  job cuts and closure of weekly titles.

At the weekend, the Financial Times reported that the Birmingham post might soon cease daily publication.

Here’s the statement in full.

The chapels sent this letter to Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey:

Dear Ms Bailey,

The Birmingham and Midlands NUJ Chapels find ourselves in dispute with the company over cuts and redundancies.

Regretfully the unanimous view of members is that while some difficulties are expected in a recession, the successive assaults on this business goes way beyond that and in fact continue a trend of cutbacks which began long before the economic downturn.

Therefore the BPM Media and Midlands Weekly Media chapels have unanimously backed a proposal from the floor for a vote of no confidence in Trinity Mirror’s management of its regional titles.

The motion, which will be issued to the newspaper trade media, states:

“Journalists, already having recently suffered a major round of redundancies. massive structural change and being the testing ground for new, unproven IT systems, have responded to these greater workloads and longer hours, with professionalism and much good will to ensure deadlines are met and quality is maintained.

“This has been thrown back in their faces and they have been betrayed by a management with a single aim – the pursuit of short term profit through cost reduction, asset sale and redundancy. This one-trick pony has no plan for the future and no concept of how to grow the local news, advertising and publishing business.

“Under this management we fear that within a few years there will be no Birmingham Post, Mail, Mercury and weeklies. Titles which have served communities and made profits for decades in the face of recession, depression, war, the advent of radio, television and recently the internet, are either being closed now or are in immediate danger if the present policy of cut, cut, cut continues.

“The company has accused the union of ignoring the disputes procedure in immediately calling a ballot for industrial action in the face of these cuts. However, the company broke its agreements with the recognised unions in imposing a pay freeze without negotiation or consultation at the start of this year.

“We believe closing titles such as the Walsall Observer, which has been published for more than 150 years, and proposals we believe are being considered to cut publication of the Birmingham Post and stop same day publication of the Birmingham Mail are reckless and negligent as it sends out the message that this company is failing and will scare advertisers away.”