HuffPost’s Birmingham “Adventure”

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Journalists with leading news website Huffington Post – now re-branded as HuffPost – marked their week-long newsroom relocation to Birmingham with a visit to the Press Club.

Editor-in-chief Polly Curtis (left) is pictured here, outside the Press Club’s base in St Paul’s Square, with colleague Louise Ridley (centre), Press Club directors Llewela Bailey, Bob Warman and Marc Reeves, and Steve Gracey, senior media relations manager with HSBC UK, who are overall sponsors of the Press Club.

HuffPost was founded in the US in 2005 and launched itself in the UK in July 2011.

It moved its 45-strong newsroom to Birmingham to “step away” from the London media bubble – and to tell the “real story” of the UK. Setting up a base in the Bull Ring, it sent its journalists out into the city – and invited the public to get in touch with their own stories.

Polly, previously digital editor at The Guardian and director of media at the British Red Cross, is one of the most respected online journalists in the UK. She is only the third editor of the UK website since its launch in 2011, when it had a team of six.

 

On the look-out for comms manager

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BT is looking for an experienced external communications manager to join a new team and work on building BT’s reputation with local media in England.

The successful candidate will be based either in the Midlands or North West but will work across the English regions.

Apart from creating and developing strategic PR programmes, the successful applicant will support sponsorship activities, prepare press releases, blogs and broadcast interview opportunities, as well as providing strategic advice to senior management on local issues and build relationships locally and regionally with key influencers and stakeholders.

The closing date for applications is 17 July (11.59 pm)

Full details may be obtained by logging onto:

https://bt.taleo.net/careersection/external/jobdetail.ftl?job=91139&tz=GMT%2B01%3A00

 

It’s Fun, Competitive – And It Keeps You Fit

 Bob Haywood -  kitted out for action

Bob Haywood -  kitted out for action

As World Cup fever intensifies, former investigative journalist BOB HAYWOOD reveals an unlikely side to the beautiful game – walking football.

I never thought I’d be 74 before scoring my first double hat-trick in a competitive football match.

But I did!

I started playing football 50 years ago and I can’t recall notching up too many single hat-tricks, even though I was a striker.

In truth, I wasn’t very good. Well, I did go to a rugby-playing school.

But I’ve finally found my niche . . . in walking football.

Before you start chuckling, it’s a darned sight more energetic, competitive and skilful than you might think.

And there isn’t a lot of walking going on, either.

In my younger days, I played 11-a-side parks league football for Warley Press FC and later Birmingham Press FC.

But my not-so-glittering ‘career’ came to a catastrophic end in 1984 when I suffered a double-fracture of my right leg in an over-the-top tackle.

It was 12 months before I fully recovered. By then, I was 40 and I knew I would never play football again.

Or so I thought . . . !

In 2014, I joined Hartshill Strollers Walking Football Club in Dudley which had just started with just four members and now has nearly 70 members – aged from 50 to 86.

I went on to become club vice chairman, assistant manager and Press officer, and I now manage the club’s Over 65 team.

I play twice a week, for an hour, year-round, outdoor on a 3G all-weather pitch at Summerhill School, Kingswinford.

My six-goal bonanza in a single match came in the inaugural walking football tournament organised by The Albion Foundation – the community arm of West Bromwich Albion FC – on 28 June 2018.

Meanwhile, Hartshill Strollers Over 65s have reached the Central regional final of the Walking Football Association (WFA) National Cup 2018 – WF’s equivalent of the FA Cup.

The crunch match will be played later in the summer. Our opponents – and the venue and date of the match - have yet to be decided.

Walking football – mainly for the Over 50s - is one of the fastest-growing sports in Britain. More than 1,000 clubs are affiliated to the WFA in England alone, with another 250 in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Around 35,000 men – and women – play on a regular basis in the UK.

Many professional football clubs are now involved in WF, as are top stars of the past, including Alan Kennedy, ex-Liverpool, Newcastle United and England; and Brian Kilcline, captain of Coventry City’s 1987 FA Cup-winning team.

A walking football European Cup will be staged next year and a World Cup in 2020.

Walking football (WF) is normally played on a five-a-side pitch, with five-a-side goals.

Teams are normally six- or seven-a-side; running is supposedly banned as is robust tackling; the ball must stay below head height (so no heading); and neither attackers nor defenders are allowed into the penalty areas.

Infringements lead to the awarding of a free kick – and, for repeat offending, a sin-binning, or even a sending off.

The trick is to play to feet, pass in triangles, and always keep on the move. It is very energetic, highly skilful – and fiercely competitive.

Well, it is the way we play it!

Walking football has become a big part of my life in retirement. I’m fit and healthy. You should give it a try.

 

Bob Haywood started in journalism as a cub reporter on the Smethwick Telephone in 1960. He later worked for the Express & Star and the Birmingham Mail.

In 1985, he became news editor of the Sunday Mercury in Birmingham.

He won many awards, mainly for investigative reporting, including being named Journalist of the Year in the BT Midlands Press & Broadcasting Awards in 1999 and in 2000, and was also named Trinity Mirror Reporter of the Year in 1999.

Bob took early retirement from the Sunday Mercury in 2003, at the age of 59, but continued to work for the paper as a freelance until 2016.

 

“FIRST LADY OF FLEET STREET” TO ATTEND JOURNALISTS’ CHARITY LUNCH

 Eve Pollard pictured at the first celebrity lunch with Alan Deeley (centre) and Gerry Armes

Eve Pollard pictured at the first celebrity lunch with Alan Deeley (centre) and Gerry Armes

Pioneering newspaper editor Eve Pollard is to make a return visit to the Midlands to attend the 25th anniversary celebration of the popular celebrity lunches run by the Journalists’ Charity when broadcaster and author Jeremy Paxman will be is the keynote speaker.

This year’s lunch is to take place at Villa Park on Friday, 5 October.

Eve, who became known as “the first lady of Fleet Street”, was only the second female editor of a national newspaper in the UK.  She was the guest speaker at the inaugural lunch, which was held at the Ben Johnson pub, then home to the Birmingham Press Club, in 1993.

The event has now become one of the highlights of the region’s social calendar attended by many the Midlands top media and business leaders.  Previous guest speakers have included Sir Trevor McDonald, Lord (Lew) Grade, Kate Adie, Chris Tarrant, Sir Michael Parkinson, Richard Branson, Fern Britton, Jon Snow, John Sergeant, Nick Robinson and Robert Peston. Together they have helped to raise nearly £400,000 for the charity in the Midlands.

The first lunch was attended by 100 people and the event has grown so much in popularity that the charity is expecting more than 250 guests at this year’s lunch.

Eve edited the Sunday Mirror from 1987 until 1991 and then the Sunday Express until 1994. She was the launch editor for Elle in the United States. Eve is a regular broadcaster and an accomplished author. She was made an OBE in 2008 and is a life vice president of the Journalists’ Charity.

For Jeremy it is also a return to the Midlands where he spent much of his childhood, living at Peopleton near Pershore and Bromsgrove and educated at Malvern College. He read English at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he edited the student newspaper Varsity.

The multi-award-winning broadcaster and writer will talk about his career spanning five decades in radio and television. Best known for his 25-year stint as the anchor of BBC Newsnight, Jeremy has also presented University Challenge since 1994. In a switch of roles, he will answer questions from lunch guests.

The first celebrity lunch was organised by Gerry Armes, then the Midlands branch chairman of the charity - previously known as the Newspaper Press Fund - and the late Alan Deeley who was also chairman of the Birmingham Press Club. Alan’s widow Val is currently the branch secretary.

Gerry, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, is a former chief sports photographer with the Birmingham Post and Mail. He is now the Midlands branch president of the charity, an appointment which recognises his tireless fund-raising work over many years.

He said: “I am delighted that Eve has accepted our invitation to attend our 25th anniversary lunch. What we started back in 1993 sowed the seeds for what has become one of the charity’s most successful and enjoyable fund-raising events in the country.”

Tickets are £55 per person with tables for 10 at £525. For booking information contact Val Deeley val.deeley@live.co.uk.

Debit/Credit card bookings are available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/an-audience-with-jeremy-paxman-journalists-charity-west-midlands-annual-lunch-tickets-42760047453.

For further information contact Laurie Upshon at laurie@upshon.com, Derek Inman at derek.inman@btopenworld.com or Val Deeley at val.deeley@live.co.uk.

 

Death of gentleman-journalist who “had a sense of community”

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A highly respected West Midlands journalist who played a pivotal role in the launch of the Channel Tunnel during a distinguished 50-year career in newspapers and PR has died.

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Ken Jackson (pictured) was Director of Corporate Affairs at Wolverhampton-based Tarmac when the construction giant was lobbying for the contract to help build the tunnel.


Ken, who has died at the age of 76 following a lengthy illness, helped mastermind the Tarmac publicity campaign, which eventually led to the construction of the historic UK-France link.


One of the biggest engineering projects ever undertaken in the UK, taking more than seven years with more than 13,000 workers from England and France, the Tunnel has been named one of the seven wonders of the modern world, opening in May 1994.


Ken's widow Hilary said: "Tarmac was one of the companies in the consortium to build the tunnel and Ken was in charge of the PR and marketing campaign at the time. He always said he helped secure the mandate for the Tunnel."


Born in Chadsmoor, Cannock, the miner's son began as a trainee reporter with the Cannock Advertiser before moving to newspapers in the North-East. He returned to the West Midlands in 1964 to work on the business desk of the Express and Star in Wolverhampton. He later joined the Birmingham Post as property editor before taking up his first PR job as Public Relations Manager with the Reliant Motor Company in Tamworth.

He returned to newspapers with the Birmingham Evening Mail from 1970 to 1977 before switching back to the PR world after being headhunted by legendary Tarmac boss Sir Eric Pountain. He enjoyed a 20-year career at Tarmac, rising to Director of Corporate Affairs. Ken eventually left the construction giant to found the Jackson-Brown PR agency, which he ran with his wife Hilary for many years from his home at Sandon, near Stafford.


Over the course of more than 20 years, he worked for a number of well-known clients, including building firms Chase Midland, Mowlem, Maitland Selwyn, retailer Beatties and many others.


Away from newspapers and PR, Ken worked in a voluntary capacity for many years for a number of West Midland public organisations, including the Government-led Wolverhampton City Challenge inner-city initiative, the First Community Health Trust in Stafford, the South Staffordshire and Shropshire Health Care Trust, Sandon and Burston Parish Council, Sandon Poetry Group and others. 


He was also a life member of the NUJ and a long-serving member of Birmingham Press Club. I 


Hilary Jackson said: "He had a real sense of community. He always wanted to help people, that was his raison d'être until he died - he would give anybody a helping hand."

 

Family and friends recall a kind and generous personality who could find common ground with all walks of life. West Midlands freelance journalist and former Birmingham Mail Business Editor Jon Griffin said: "I knew Ken for 40 years from when we first talked in the summer of 1978 in his role at Tarmac. You meet so many people over the years in this business and lose touch with 95 per cent of them. But Ken always stayed in touch.


"He was always a journalist at heart and loved nothing more than recalling his days at the Birmingham Post and Mail in the years of mass circulation newspapers.   He was a true gentleman, shrewd with an astute business brain, as well as a supportive and loyal friend with a wry sense of humour."


Former colleague and ex-Birmingham Post Business Editor Fred Bromwich said: "Ken and I first met up in the 1950s when we were both on the National Council for the Training of Journalists course and, as with many of his former colleagues, he had remained in contact ever since. Ken enjoyed a great career as an outstanding journalist in his field and he was the complete PR professional."


Ken leaves a widow Hilary as well as a daughter Debra and son Marcus from his first marriage. 


The funeral will be held at St Dominic's in Stone at 12 noon on Monday July 16 followed by burial at All Saints Church in Sandon and refreshments later at Sandy Leys Farm in Sandon.

Pic:  1 Ken Jackson – on lobbying duty outside No 10

Enquiries: Jon Griffin, 07963 405538

Read All About It!

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What used to be the head office of a Coventry newspaper is to be transformed into a set for dance and theatre – retelling the city’s stories of the past 60 years – before it finally closes for redevelopment.

The former Coventry Evening Telegraph Building, which has been everything from a pop-up art exhibition to a concert venue in recent months following the newspaper’s move to new offices elsewhere in the city, is being turned into a boutique hotel by developers CDP. Work is planned to start later this year after CDP donated the space for arts and cultural events.

But before the final page of this section of the building’s history is turned, it will stage a unique mini festival entitled “Read All About It!” which will blend the city’s past with its future as UK City of Culture in 2021.

In “City Final”, nine groups led by the Belgrade Theatre’s pioneering Community and Education department, will turn the famous building into a stage to tell a range of stories covered by the paper – including everything from the miners’ strike through to refugees settling in Coventry.

It will also delve into the technological advances that have changed the way news is reported and consumed.

The second part of the festival is “Retold”, produced by Mercurial Dance, and will be an interactive, cabaret-style show based on Coventry Telegraph readers’ memories.

The event is a Coventry City of Culture Trust Great Place Project with support from Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery, Coventry University, University of Warwick, Coventry City Council and Coventry Business Improvement District.

Jacqui Ibbotson, Great Place Project Manager at the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “The Coventry Evening Telegraph Building is an iconic location in the city and has told Coventry’s stories over many decades. Read All About It! is a way of looking back at the recent history of the city through theatre and dance and taking inspiration from those stories produced by the newspaper.

“It promises to an interesting and inspiring few days and not only does it look back at the city’s history, it’s a chance to look forward to what this building will become by the time we reach 2021 and also to experience the work of a group of young artists, performers and producers.  Coventry’s youth and diversity was a key element in us landing UK City of Culture and this event will be the perfect showcase for that.

“Using the Coventry Evening Telegraph Building’s space to retell the stories in this way is an exciting concept as we look ahead to 2021 – as is the collaboration between cultural organisations in the city,” said Jacqui.

Read All About It! runs from Tuesday, July 10 to Saturday, July 14 and tickets are available via www.belgrade.co.uk or from the box office on 024 7655 3055.

Stephanie’s In Charge

 Pic:  Stephanie Preece

Pic:  Stephanie Preece

Newsquest has appointed a new editor for four of its newspapers in the West Midlands.

Stephanie Preece (pictured) will oversee the Stourbridge, Halesowen and Dudley News, Bromsgrove and Droitwich Advertiser, Redditch Advertiser, and Kidderminster Shuttle titles.

She moves from her role as head of content for Newsquest’s Worcester News, Malvern Gazette and Evesham Journal newspapers.

“I’m delighted to be joining the team at Stourbridge.” said Stephanie. I am already familiar with the great work that they do covering the north of Worcestershire and I can’t wait to join them in this new role.”

Newsquest editorial director Toby Granville said: “I had the pleasure of working with Stephanie at the Oxford Mail some years ago — and even then it was clear to me she had editor potential. She’s full of energy and embraces the challenging but exciting changes happening in our industry and I’m looking forward to seeing her play a big part in Stourbridge’s future.”

Stephanie will take up her new role on July 23 on her return from maternity leave

 

HSBC COMPLETES RING-FENCING SIX MONTHS AHEAD OF LEGAL DEADLINE

 Ian Stuart

Ian Stuart

HSBC completed the process to set up its ring-fenced bank, HSBC UK Bank plc (HSBC UK), with the legal transfer of businesses and customer accounts from HSBC Bank plc to HSBC UK on 1 July 2018.

HSBC UK – overall sponsor of Birmingham Press Club - has been created as a separate ring-fenced bank in response to the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013. It will serve around 14.5 million personal and business customers in the UK, including all HSBC retail customers in the UK, M&S Bank and first direct customers, most HSBC commercial banking customers in the UK, and UK Private Bank clients. Marks & Spencer Financial Services plc and HSBC Private Bank (UK) Limited are subsidiaries of HSBC UK.

HSBC received approval for the transfer from the High Court on 21 May 2018. HSBC UK has assets of over £200bn and received its full banking license from the Prudential Regulation Authority on 27 June 2018.

The creation of HSBC UK has been one of the largest projects ever undertaken by HSBC and required the reconfiguration of core banking platforms and payments infrastructure, including the successful separation of over 250 IT systems from the rest of the Group. In addition, it transferred 400,000 bank accounts to new HSBC UK sort codes and rebranded all HSBC branches in the UK to HSBC UK.

HSBC UK is wholly owned by HSBC Holdings plc and has its own Board. The Board is led by Chairman Dame Clara Furse and composed of three executive directors – Ian Stuart, CEO; David Watts, CFO; and James Calladine, CRO; and seven non-executive directors – Alan Keir; David Lister; Dame Denise Holt; Jim Coyle; Leslie Van de Walle; Mridul Hegde and Rosemary Leith; Mridul Hegde is Chair of the Risk Committee and is Chair of the Audit Committee.

HSBC UK will be opening its new 210,000 sq. ft. head office in Birmingham later this year and has already successfully moved about 1,000 head office roles from London to Birmingham. HSBC UK will employ around 22,000 people, supported by an additional 10,000 people working for HSBC’s UK ServCo (HSBC Global Services UK).

Ian Stuart (pictured) CEO of HSBC UK, said: “We are delighted to complete the ring-fencing of HSBC UK six months ahead of the legal deadline. The creation of our ring-fenced bank and our move to Birmingham is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get closer to our customers, colleagues and communities across the UK.”

 

Report highlights loss of local newspapers over last decade

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Six thousand print journalists and more than 3,000 local newspapers have been axed during the last ten years, according to a new report published ahead of a Government review into the “sustainability” of the UK’s printed press industry.

The report has also revealed print advertising revenues have dropped by more than half over the last 10 years, from nearly £7 billion to just over £3bn.

 

The research by Mediateque was commissioned ahead of the review, which is to be chaired by former economic journalist Dame Frances Cairncross (pictured). It revealed the number of frontline print journalists dropped by more than a quarter, from around 23,000 in 2007 to 17,000 in 2017.

The report also found that the newspaper industry still contributes half of total editorial journalism in the UK – more than online and broadcast news combined – while there are 1,043 local and regional titles still being published.

Dame Frances has now issued a call for evidence ahead of the review with a deadline of 7 September for submissions. She said: “This review is not about preserving the status quo. We need to explore ways in which we can ensure that consumers in ten years time have access to high-quality journalism which meets their needs, is delivered in the way they want, and supports democratic engagement.

“This call for evidence enables all those with an interest to contribute their knowledge and views so we can build the evidence and make impactful recommendations to move forward,” she added.

The panel in charge of the review is made up of experts from the fields of journalism, academia, advertising and technology and will seek a greater understanding of the state of the news media market, particularly the printed press, including threats to financial sustainability.

 

 

Broadcaster to take close look at Birmingham

 Andy Street

Andy Street

Birmingham and the West Midlands will be under the media spotlight during the next 10 days, starting with a visit today (June 27) by Channel 4.

The broadcaster is coming to see for itself the strength of the region’s bid to become the home of its “national headquarters” as part of its plans to move around 300 jobs out of London.

Meanwhile, next week, in a separate initiative, the Huffington Post is relocating its UK newsroom of 45 journalists to Birmingham to report from the city for the whole of next week. Polly Curtis, editor-in-chief of HuffPost UK, said she “wanted to shift our centre of gravity away from London”, albeit temporarily.

Channel 4 is, however, planning a more permanent relocation from the capital city. The West Midlands, which is putting forward sites in Birmingham and Coventry, is on a shortlist that includes Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Greater Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.

The Huffington Post project is being run in partnership with the Birmingham Mail, which will see the two collaborate n a number of joint stories to explore issues such as affordable housing, hidden homelessness and air pollution.
Channel 4 has highlighted five key considerations that the successful bidder will perform strongly on – demography and diversity, availability of talent, local connectivity, travel links to London and its creative hubs, and the suitability of available office space.

The mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “This is our chance to do the pitch of our lives for a prize which everybody involved recognises could have a profound impact on the region. Channel 4 coming to our diverse, young region at a time when we are enjoying economic success and learning how to win again would be a huge boost.

“Clearly, the West Midlands has certain advantages – not least our unrivalled connectivity, a sense of unity and purpose among everybody involved in the bid and also the fact our digital sector – the biggest outside London by some significant margin – provides Channel 4 with the opportunity to work with us to forge the future of television.”

The delegation from C4 will include its chief executive Alex Mahon, chief executive and chief commercial officer Jonathan Allan, who is heading up the bid process.

 

How do you become a television weatherman?

Well, for Des Coleman, the effervescent presenter currently creating a cult following for himself amongst viewers of ITV Central, it was via a welding job in Staffordshire, a prison cell at Winson Green, treading the boards on the West End stage – and being dumped by the BBC.

 

 

Des, who grew up in Derby with his Jamaican-born Windrush Generation parents, revealed the twists and turns in his career path during a Q & A session at a Birmingham Press Club networking evening chaired by Club president Bob Warman.

 

After leaving school at the age of 16, Des was employed as a welder in Rugeley. But in his early 20s he spent time in prison, serving some of his sentence in Winson Green for motoring offences – committed while he was a passenger in a car driven by a joy-riding friend.

 

Des eventually focused his ambitions on drama and won a place at Guildford School of Acting. After graduating, he went on to appear in stage musicals such as Chicago and Miss Saigon before making his television debut as wideboy Lenny Wallace in Eastenders – a role that lasted for three years.

 

Other TV and stage roles followed, as did a job on BBC Radio Derby, where he was asked to do the weather report at the Broadcast Centre in Nottingham, signalling another career change, which resulted in him being trained as a weather presenter and employment with BBC East Midlands Today.

 

But four years later, in 2011, Des was arrested and charged for allegedly pointing an imitation firearm at another driver on a motorway. The BBC gave him the sack after he used a live weather report to protest his innocence – Des deliberately put the wrong temperature on the weather map and told viewers they should not believe everything said by the media!

 

But then Des was “completely exonerated” of all allegations after the judge criticised the prosecution for acting “negligently” for not having discovered details of the past convictions of the prosecuting witness – four incidents of road rage and one of threatening another motorist with a knife.

 

For Des, the outlook brightened up two years ago when ITV Central News took him on as the station’s weather presenter, his bubbly nature soon endearing him to legions of viewers.

 

Other fans still appreciate Des’ talents as a singer – for he regularly appears on stage and at functions as part of the award-winning tribute band, The Rack Pack, which tours Britain and overseas.

 

And for those of us in the Midlands, we can see Des – and the rest of the Rat Pack – at Birmingham’s Crescent Theatre, on Friday, 27 July.

University to launch new journalism degree

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An editor turned lecturer is set to lead the University of Leicester’s new journalism degree after previously teaching the subject at a different institution in the same city.

The university will launch its BA journalism programme at its open day on Friday 6 July.

The three-year programme will be led by associate professor in journalism Tor Clark (pictured) who was previously principal lecturer in journalism at Leicester’s De Montfort University and served as programme leader of its two journalism degrees.

Tor is a former editor of the Harborough Mail and Rutland & Stamford Mercury. He took up his new post last year after previously spending 12 years with De Montfort.

“Having worked in journalism for the last 30 years and taught it for the last 14, I have designed a programme which uses all my knowledge of the industry and the academy to create a degree which is enjoyable to study, helps students enjoy their own academic, professional and personal development and then equips them for either employment or further study on graduation,” said Tor.

He added: “The new journalism degree is designed to embrace all the various forms of journalism now operating, to give students a taste of all platforms, but also to emphasise students’ development of core and key journalism skills. Alongside the development of these skills, students will study the context and controversies of journalism and develop their employability through practical work and professional placements.”

The programme will focus on practical skills, the context of journalism and developing the employability of its students over their three years of study and work placements.

The degree will be run by lecturers from the university’s School of Media, Communication and Sociology.

Tor said: “ “The aim is for every student to think like a journalist and core news skills will be at the heart of the degree. Students will be constantly challenged to push the boundaries, to probe, question and to uncover the news. They will develop the attributes and skills to sniff out a story and to tell it in a compelling way.”

Weekly column is deemed unpopular – after being fixture for more than two decades!

For almost 22 years, journalist John Philpott has been supplying a weekly column, on a freelance basis, to the Worcester News. Now the editor has axed the column because he says it is not “particularly popular” with readers.

 

John Philpott (pictured) told media website Hold The Front Page: “Taking into account the number of Worcester’s establishment figures I have annoyed down the years, I must admit to being surprised that I survived this long.

“During the early days, there was a determined bid by the local Labour group to strangle the column at birth over a piece I wrote about an attempt to concrete over a much-loved park in the city. Thankfully, it failed – as did the concreting. But the incident showed that then, as now, Labour’s instinct is to stifle dissent.

 

“But having said that, I’ve also annoyed quite a few Tories in my time, including one very high-ranking individual who tried to knobble the then editor over several columns I wrote supporting a businessman’s attempt to save a Worcester theatre from closure.

 

“My column embraced numerous topics and talking points around Worcester and I was all set for another 22 years, but there you go,” said John, who has worked for a number of regional newspapers, including the Worcester News, in a career, which has spanned almost five decades. He blamed “number-crunchers” for his departure.

 

Michael Purton, who took over as editor of the Worcester News earlier this year, said: “As part of a revamp of the features sections in the Worcester News, and to increase the amount of news articles in each edition of the newspaper, we decided to bring an end to freelance contributor John Philpott’s weekly column along with a number of other regular articles which, reader feedback showed, were not particularly popular.

 

 

“I’d like to thank John for his service to the Worcester News,” he added.

 

 

 

Media Debate hosted by BBC Midlands

 

Newspaper editor Marc Reeves told a panel discussion on the future of the media that he had witnessed more significant change in the industry during the last two or three years than he had in the whole of the last quarter of a century.

But despite digital advancements, and the explosion of social media – and the dramatic fading of the “traditional consumption” of news – core values had remained unaltered.

“At the end of the day, we are still holding councils to account and exposing those who need to be exposed,” he told attendees at a Birmingham Press Club/BBC Midlands event. “And good old-fashioned journalism, with its various checks in place, will counter-act fake news.”

Marc, who is editor in chief of the Midlands operation of Reach plc (formerly Trinity Mirror), said his core print titles would be around for a long time yet, but he added:  “We have crossed the Rubicon” – acknowledging the rapid development of the digital sector and the success of the Birmingham Mail’s website, Birmingham Live.

He added that he was more optimistic for the future than he had been for a while and that Birmingham’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2022 would be the peg on which to hang so many opportunities – sentiments echoed by the other panel members, Eileen Murphy, editor of BBC News Online from BBC Birmingham, Rob Adcock, social media executive for BBC Three and Luke Addis, owner of Updates Media, who said he planned to open new websites for Coventry and London later this year.

Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Midlands, who hosted the event at the BBC’s headquarters at The Mailbox, said he believed there was renewed confidence and optimism in the region after having come through “some difficult times.” Commenting on Birmingham being shortlisted as one of the potential relocations for Channel 4, Eileen said that if the broadcaster moved to the city – now a centre of digital excellence - it would act as a ‘magnet” for further significant investment. A decision on the relocation is expected on 1 October.

The discussion took place under the chairmanship of BBC Midlands Today presenter Mary Rhodes.

Pics: Andrew Kibbler

Weatherman Des in the “hot seat.”

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He’s been an actor in Eastenders, appeared in stage musicals and a film with Sam Neill, not to mention being a television reporter and presenter.

But his fans in the West Midlands will mostly recognise him nowadays as the man who puts the sunshine into the weather forecast on ITV Central News

He’s Derby-born Des Coleman (pictured), who has been ITV Central’s irrepressible weatherman since 2016.

Now he’ll be facing a Q & A session, hosted by his ITV colleague & Press Club President Bob Warman, at the Press Club’s next monthly drop-in networking event.

That’s on Thursday, 7 June at St Paul’s Club, St Paul’s Square, Birmingham. Members meet from 6 pm and Des will be in the “hot seat” round about 7 pm – straight after giving a weather update on the ITV News programme.