If you go down in the woods…

Press Club members are in for a treat – a “private viewing” of a picturesque four-acre bluebell wood that annually raises money for charity.

This year, the attraction, which is owned by Press Club director Peter Brookes and his wife Jen, will be open during the weekend of 6-7 May for the National Garden Scheme. But Club members will get their “exclusive” look on Sunday, 28 April – which should be the height of the bluebell season.

The wood will be open from 11 am until 1 pm – with visitors being provided with tea and coffee.

“But if visitors want something stronger can they please bring their own bottle of booze. I wouldn’t want to empty Jen’s gin store!” said Peter.

He added: “It is a quintessentially English scene – the bluebells cascade down our natural river banks to Smestow Brook, which joins the River Stour nearby. There are almost four acres of bluebells, forming a blue carpet between the trees and experts tell us the bluebells may date back a thousand years.

 

“The river bank shows evidence of quarrying – thought to be the site of ancient nail-making pre-dating the Industrial Revolution.  And there’s plenty of wildlife – if you are lucky you may spot the Kingfishers swooping over the stream,” said Peter.

The offer is free to Press Club members. But if you plan to visit during the National Garden Scheme weekend expect to pay! More than 1,000 people have visited the woods in the last three years.

 

Please note the woods contain a couple of steep paths, which are not suitable for wheelchairs. Strong footwear is recommended.

The location is Keeper’s Cottage, 24, Greensforge Lane, Stourton, Stourbridge, DY7 5BB

If you are planning to attend please email Peter at peter@brookesmedia.com - so that he can organise catering and car parking.

 

Directions:

From the A449 Wolverhampton to Kidderminster Road, take the A458 turning, signposted Bridgnorth. Greensforge Lane is the first turning on your right (about half a mile).

Peter’s house is about half a mile down the lane on the right – there will be a sign outside the house welcoming Press Club members.



GLOS STUDENT TAKES TOP AWARD

A University of Gloucestershire student carried off the top award at the Midlands Media Student Awards, held in Birmingham on 10 April.

Hesham Abdelhamid (pictured), who lives in Cheltenham, took the Student of the Year accolade after having collected the Features Category trophy earlier in the evening.

The awards, organised by Birmingham Press Club to acknowledge the achievements of next-generation journalists, broadcasters and photographers, attracted several hundred entries from universities and colleges from the East and West Midlands. The awards ceremony was held at Mama Roux’s leisure venue in Digbeth, hosted by BBC Radio WM presenter Alex Noble.

Headline sponsor was Amazon UK Services Ltd, whose Community Relations Manager, Neil Williams, presented the Student of the Year trophy.  He said: “This has been a tremendous opportunity to work with the Birmingham Press Club to both encourage aspiring journalists and recognise the best emerging talent. It’s great to see the world’s oldest press club looking to the future with the Midlands Media Students’ Awards, which we’re delighted to support.”

Further sponsorship support came from HSBC UK, the Press Club’s overall sponsor, and the Universities of Birmingham City, De Montfort, Gloucestershire, Northampton and Worcester.

The judges likened Hesham’s work to what they would expect from a “seasoned journalist working in the profession for years.”

Hesham (faridthezine@gmail.com) is co-founder of a magazine that has been acknowledged as the “fastest growing student publication of 2018.”

His award-winning portfolio – praised for its thorough planning and research - tackled serious subjects such as professional humility, an aspect of conflict within society and the fascination with the trend of creating fake news. The judges said that his self-confessed experimental, emotional, funny and sassy style of writing made them all the more entertaining.

Commenting on one of his feature entries, Hesham said:  “Following a negative experience at a networking conference, I wrote a long-form feature on why, being humble in the way you describe yourself as a professional/creative and letting your work speak for itself, is the best way to get noticed in any saturated industry.”

In an unprecedented move in the highly competitive Sport Category, the judges named three students – Molly Hudson (Staffordshire University) Adam Barker and David Wainwright (both University of Derby) – as joint winners.

Birmingham Press Club chairman Llewela Bailey said: “Many well-known names in the media world have kick-started their careers after having successfully negotiated their courses at Midland universities and colleges. And I have no doubt that those who entered our awards will be following in their footsteps. The standard of submitted work was truly outstanding – a real credit to the lecturers who are helping to craft their careers.”

MIDLANDS MEDIA AWARD WINNERS - 2019

BROADCASTING (RADIO):

Winner: Lucy Ryan, Birmingham City University, for her epic series “The Lonely Death of Janet Parker,” all about the world’s last recorded smallpox fatality, which occurred in Birmingham in 1978.The judges said it was thoroughly researched, well edited, with proportionate use of both first hand accounts and expert analysis. A tragic series of events turned into a compelling listen.

Highly commended: Ama Esson, University of Northampton, whose entry examined the link between Drill Music and street crime.

AWARD PRESENTED BY SIMON WALSH, SENIOR LECTURER AT LEICESTER MEDIA SCHOOL, DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY

BROADCASTING (TELEVISION)

Winner: James Williams, of University of Lincoln, who demonstrated good story lines, good editing and audio in a presentation portfolio that was clearly well researched with excellent interviewees.  The judges said he showed real flair, presence and active involvement. They added that the results were a credit to the University, its lecturers and students.

Highly commended: Hafsa Naveed, Birmingham City University, whose well-researched, sensitively-approached documentary on forced marriage and honour-based abuse in the UK provided a telling insight into the lives of two women survivors

Highly Commended: Hannah Brown, University of Lincoln, for an excellent compilation of stories ranging from the disappearance of a city icon, the loss of an important public service, to a light-hearted look at New Year Resolutions.

Highly Commended: Katharyn Daniels, University of Lincoln, whose work included the opening of a Bomber Command memorial, a student-led initiative supporting young women and a look at the growing issue of food banks.

AWARD PRESENTED BY BOB WARMAN, ITV CENTRAL AND PRESIDENT OF BIRMINGHAM PRESS CLUB

CULTURE

Winner: Kaylee Poloczek, University of Northampton, for a stand out entry with a documentary-style interview with two women who were part and parcel of gangland London in the Sixties – Maureen Flanagan, a Page 3 pin-up and hairdresser to Ronnie and Reggie Kray’s mother, and Veronica, the wife of rival gang boss Charlie Richardson. The judges especially liked the pre-interview footage of the women “adjusting” themselves for the camera. A 10-minute interview, which captured a lot about what the women did and didn’t know about the violent world around them.

Highly commended: Anisah Vasta & Abigail Nruah, Birmingham City University, for their interview with Sir Lenny Henry.

Highly commended: Lydia Johnson, Birmingham City University, for her blog on how she went about getting a placement on Cosmo magazine.

AWARD PRESENTED BY RACHEL AMMONDS, JOURNALISM COURSE LEADER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WORCESTER


DATA JOURNALISM

Winner: Victoria Oliveres, Birmingham City University, took the award in a category, which, like all others, was blessed with a very high standard of work.  In today’s “big data” age, there are those whose intention is to “hide” unwelcome truths – and it is a vital dimension of any journalist’s role in the 21st century to make sense of it all and uncover the stories that need telling. The judges said that using FOI details extracted from 26 police forces, Victoria produced a well-researched and comprehensive piece of work to reveal that online disability hate crimes had tripled in three years. Her entry displayed a new angle to the on-going issue of hate crime – with social media companies in the spotlight for their failure to monitor and block unacceptable content.

Highly Commended:  Sania Aziz, Birmingham City University, for her brave investigative piece of work into sexual assaults which occur within the so-called safe havens of university campuses.

Highly Commended:  Calum Archibald, Birmingham City University, who tackled the topical subject of calling upon football clubs to do more to support people with mental health issues.

AWARD PRESENTED BY ANITA SHARMA-JAMES, A DIRECTOR OF BIRMINGHAM PRESS CLUB.



FEATURES

Winner: Hesham Abdelhamid, of University of Gloucester, is co-founder of a magazine that won the accolade of “fastest growing student publication of 2018.”

His entry tackled serious subjects such as professional humility, an aspect of conflict within society and the fascination with the trend of creating fake news. But his self-confessed experimental, emotional, funny and sassy style of writing made them all the more entertaining. The judges said Hesham had demonstrated his skills in thoroughly planning out and researching compelling, and most of all, interesting features. His work, all about shedding light on something new, entices the reader into reading more.  The judges likened his work to what they would expect from a seasoned journalist working in the profession for years.

Highly Commended: Eve Smallman, of Nottingham Trent University. As editor-in-chief of the Students’ Union magazine, Eve is always on the look-out for a story that engages her readers – and she clearly demonstrates this skill with a compelling portfolio of articles, reflecting the serious, the sensitive and the fun side of life.

Highly Commended: Gurjeet Nanrah, of Nottingham Trent University, who produced an emotional story about a Muslim doctor whose great-grandfathers fought for the British Army in WW1 in a Punjabi Regiment – highlighting, the largely overlooked, sacrifice made by ethnic minorities for the British Empire. Also, an enthralling interview with a criminal defence lawyer whose career is highly successful – despite him being blind since the age of eight.

Highly Commended: James Williams, of University of Lincoln, who produced a radio documentary about Christianity in crisis; a TV feature on the use of 3G pitches in football and an example of a weekly local football review show.

AWARD PRESENTED BY KATE IRONSIDE, JOURNALISM SENIOR LECTURER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTHAMPTON


NEWS

Winner: Wan Ulfa Nur Zuhra, Birmingham City University, whose work stood out for its powerful mixture of investigative and data journalism on topical public interest issues. There was good analysis and strong human-interest angles, well crafted in an accessible writing style,

Highly commended Becky Tombs, University of Derby, for using her initiative in seeking the comments of customers on “rows of closed shops” and problems hitting small businesses.

Highly Commended: Elliott Hawkins, University of Lincoln, demonstrated his multi-platform skills with a hard news story on road deaths in Lincolnshire and a TV package on Lincoln City’s first visit to Wembley.

Highly commended: Lynn Butler, University of Wolverhampton, who came up with a fresh angle on the Enoch Powell blue plaque storm which gave her a page-lead in a print newspaper

AWARD PRESENTED BY AURORA BONIN, SENIOR MEDIA RELATIONS MANAGER, HSBC UK

PHOTOGRAPHY

Winner: Kirsty Hatton, University of Worcester, whose portfolio of street photography shots was all about observation and finding something interesting in everyday life. The judges said she had a good creative eye with a theme in mind, which was reflected in a set of well-composed images.

Highly Commended: Ellen Flannery, University of Worcester, whose photographs depicted the diverse and unique characters of “normal” people in their everyday working environment.

AWARD PRESENTED BY AURORA BONIN, SENIOR MEDIA RELATIONS MANAGER, HSBC UK

SOCIAL ISSUES & CAMPAIGNING JOURNALISM

Winner: Adrienne Titley, of University of Worcester, for filming, editing and producing a documentary short on the severity of male suicide in the UK and what life is like for those left behind. Sadly, Adrienne’s father took his own life and the judges said this was a particularly brave decision to tackle a topic so close to home. Adrienne’s project was conducted during the final year of her journalism degree and since then she has campaigned vigorously to raise awareness of male suicide, appearing on TV and writing blogs for Huffington Post to highlight the alarming increase in suicide rates over the last four years. The judges said it was a powerful, hard-hitting and eye-opening video, lifted by its tone, use of graphics and crafted with real creativity.

Highly Commended; Ama Esson, of University of Northampton, for an in-depth investigation into whether it was fair of politicians to stand up in Parliament and blame the Drill music genre for a rise in knife crime

AWARD PRESENTED BY ANNE DAWSON, HEAD OF MEDIA SCHOOL AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE


SOCIAL MEDIA JOURNALISM

WINNER:  Beth Ennis & Katharyn Daniels, of University of Lincoln, whose 'Taboo' branded website tackles controversial topics and engages an impressive audience. One topic, about anti-vax campaigners was picked up by an Irish Times journalist who then started a debate of his own. The inclusion of readers comments in articles is exactly what modern newspapers and broadcasters and clambering to do. 

Highly Commended:  Thomas Smith, of University of Derby, who produced Instagram stories while working in Russia for the Football Supporters’ Federation and while covering the Under 17 Euro Football Championships in England.  Live Twitter updates following the helicopter tragedy at King Power Stadium completed his portfolio.

AWARD PRESENTED BY SARAH JONES, HEAD OF MEDIA SCHOOL, BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY


SPORT

Winners:  Molly Hudson, Staffordshire University, who is now a freelance sports journalist with a specialism for women’s football. Her portfolio comprised of work published in the national media, including a medical-based feature and a more light-hearted contribution about two women footballers balancing their personal life with work commitments.

Adam Barker, a first-year football journalism student at the University of Derby, who submitted a variety of talented work about coaching, thoughts on Wayne Rooney’s legacy and a Norwich City match report.

David Wainwright, University of Derby, loves football and also has a passion for boxing – highlighted by two knockout interviews with heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte and Conor Blackshaw ahead of his challenge for the English flyweight title.

Highly Commended:  James Williams, of University of Lincoln, for a great all-round performance in written, video and radio format.

Highly commended: Sam Ogun, of University of Northampton, whose portfolio features a very worthy BAME football article.

Highly commended: Louis Mitchell, of University of Derby, whose excellent easy-to-read articles on the world of women’s football had the judges hooked

Highly Commended:  Thomas Jobson, of Staffordshire University, whose well-written portfolio included attention-grabbing articles on the journey to becoming a professional footballer (from the parents perspective) and youth trials and mental health.

AWARDS PRESENTED BY NEIL WILLIAMS, COMMUNITY RELATIONS MANAGER AT AMAZON UK SERVICES LTD



MIDLANDS MEDIA STUDENT OF THE YEAR - 2019


Winner: Hesham Abdelhamid, of University of Gloucester, whose desire to make his features as entertaining as possible certainly worked wonders with the judges. They not only found his entry really entertaining and compelling but also highly professional. A polished performance.

AWARD PRESENTED BY NEIL WILLIAMS, COMMUNITY RELATIONS MANAGER, AMAZON UK SERVICES LTD



Radio Presenter confirmed as guest speaker at Midlands Media Student Awards

A talented young radio presenter will be guest speaker at the Midlands Media Student Awards, being held in Birmingham on Wednesday, 10 April.

Alex Noble (pictured), a graduate from the University of Nottingham, showcases new musical talent on the radio programme, BBC Music Introducing in the West Midlands.

BBC Music Introducing, first launched in 2007, is dedicated to discovering and supporting new music. It allows undiscovered artists to have their tracks played on BBC local radio shows and also provides up-and-coming artists with broadcast opportunities on TV and online, as well as the chance to perform at major festivals and showcases.

Alex, who has also worked as a BBC producer in the East Midlands, said: “Showcasing some of the best in new music from one of the most vibrant areas in the UK is a delight. But, as a freelance social media strategist myself, I’m also well aware of the emerging talent amongst the region’s media sector so it will be great to meet and discuss the future with our next-generation media specialists.”

The Midlands Media Student Awards, originally introduced in 2015 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Birmingham Press Club, the event organisers, are this year being held on 10 April at Mama Roux’s, the home of Digbeth Dining Club.

Individual tickets are priced at £30, including VAT. To make a booking visit https://www.midlandsmediaawards.co.uk/studentawards

Birmingham City University, the University of Gloucestershire and the University of Northampton have all confirmed sponsorship, together with the Press Club’s overall sponsor, HSBC UK and the main sponsor for the evening Amazon.

Speaking of the decision to team up with the Awards ceremony, Neil Williams, Community Relations Manager for Amazon said : “It’s a tremendous opportunity to work with the Birmingham Press Club to both encourage aspiring journalists and recognise the best emerging talent. It’s great to see the world’s oldest press club looking to the future with the Midlands Media Students’ Awards which we’re delighted to support.”

Award categories include broadcasting, culture, data journalism, features, news, social media and photography. Event organisers said that the deadline for receipt of entries was 7 March.


  • Lincoln University student Natasha Turney, chosen as Student of the Year at the inaugural awards, is now a BBC broadcast journalist, while Worcester University student Conor Rees, who took the accolade in 2016, is publishing a lifestyle magazine.


Entry details are available by going to https://www.midlandsmediaawards.co.uk/studentawards

Press Club enquiries - Fred Bromwich: fred.bromwich@btinternet.com



Alex Noble, BBC.jpeg

amazon and midlands universities to back Media Students Awards

Five Midland universities are among a raft of supporters to have come on board to back the Midlands Media Students’ Awards, which are being revived after a lapse of more than two years by Birmingham Press Club.

Sponsorship has been confirmed by Birmingham City University, De Montfort University’s School of Media, the University of Gloucestershire, the University of Northampton, and the University of Worcester.

As well as being supported by the Press Club’s overall sponsor, HSBC UK, the Awards this year will be sponsored and supported by Amazon.

Neil Williams, Community Relations Manager for the company said: “It’s a tremendous opportunity to work with the Birmingham Press Club to both encourage aspiring journalists and recognise the best emerging talent. It’s great to see the world’s oldest press club looking to the future with the Midlands Media Students’ Awards which we’re delighted to support.”

Both Amazon and the Press Club’s overall sponsors HSBC acknowledge the talents of the Midlands’ next-generation journalists and photographers.

The awards are to take place on 10 April at Mama Roux’s, Digbeth’s latest leisure venue situated at Lower Trinity Street, Birmingham, B9 4AG. Individual tickets are priced at £30, including VAT. To make a booking visit https://www.midlandsmediaawards.co.uk/studentawards

Sarah Jones, who is head of Birmingham City University’s School of Media, said: “Journalism in the region is going from strength to strength. We are seeing a huge increase in the number of students wanting to study journalism that are deeply engaged and looking to find fresh approaches to telling stories.

“The talent is exceptional and it is great to celebrate students across the region at the Midlands Media Awards,” she added.

Ben Archer, a programme leader and senior lecturer at De Montfort University’s Leicester Media School, said: “We are very pleased to be associated again with the Midlands Media Awards in 2019, situated as we are within the highest concentration of creative media businesses outside the M25, and on the threshold of some exciting strategic expansion of opportunities in these industries across the Midlands.”

Anne Dawson (pictured), head of media school at the University of Gloucestershire, said:  “Supporting the Midlands Student Media Awards provides the Gloucestershire Media School with an excellent opportunity to showcase our students' work.”

Anne Dawson, Gloster Uni.jpeg

A former BBC and ITV journalist, Anne added: “The awards will enable young journalists to compete in a supportive, professional environment where they can compare the quality, tone and subject matter of their work with that of their peers.  We welcome the return of this scheme and look forward to being closely involved.”

Marc Webber, Programme Leader in Media, Journalism and Performance school at the University of Northampton, said: “We are delighted to be supporting a night which turns the spotlight on the future journalists of the Midlands.

“At a time when regional media is coming under scrutiny it is even more imperative we prove that there are still people in the region who care about the issues around them and have great stories to tell.

“Our students are looking forward to pitching their work to the judges,” added Marc, who began his career as a Saturday sports reporter at Red Dragon Radio in Cardiff.

The University of Worcester’s Principal Lecturer in Journalism, Claire Wolfe (pictured), said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for students to showcase their work and we fully endorse the Press Club’s support for helping to bring on the next generation of journalists.

Claire Wolfe.jpeg

“The role of new entrants to the profession has never been more important. In order to retain a robust democratic society, we need bright, well equipped individuals to fact check information and to question those in power.

“They also need to be able to engage with news consumers across a range of platforms and to tell factual stories in new and vibrant ways. This award scheme champions both the values of established journalistic practice as well as innovation within the profession.”

Awards categories will include digital journalism, news, entertainment, sport, fashion & lifestyle, travel, broadcasting and photography.

Press Club chairman Llewela Bailey said: “The region has a wealth of emerging talent that, I am sure, will guarantee the Midlands continuing to be a hotspot for the development of those working in the media industry.”

  • Lincoln University student Natasha Turney, chosen as Student of the Year at the inaugural awards, is now a BBC broadcast journalist, while Worcester University student Conor Rees, who took the accolade in 2016, is publishing a lifestyle magazine.


The full list of nominations for this year’s awards is as follows:


NOMINATIONS – STUDENT AWARDS


BROADCASTING (RADIO):

Adam Chowdhury, University of Worcester

Ama Esson, University of Northampton

Calum Archibald, Birmingham City University

Fade Radio, Birmingham City University

James Williams, University of Lincoln

Joint entry: Tom Hartley, Harvey Lawrence, Jordan Marks, Alex Noonan & Conal Blanchette, Birmingham City University

Lucy Ryan, Birmingham City University

BROADCASTING (TELEVISION)

Becky Tombs. University of Derby

Elliot Hawkins, University of Lincoln

Hafsa Naveed, Birmingham City University

Hannah Brown, University of Lincoln

Jakub Machacek, University of Derby

James Williams, University of Lincoln

Katharyn Daniels, University of Lincoln

Nikolina Cetinic, University of Derby

Oscar Edwards, University of Derby

Patrycja Boryka, Nottingham Trent University

Thomas Smith, University of Derby

CULTURE

Anisah Vasta & Abigail Nruah, Birmingham City University

Annabel Alston & Talie Colbourne, University of Lincoln

Becky Tombs, University of Derby

Beth Ennis & Katharyn Daniels, University of Lincoln

Birmingham Film Festival Magazine, Birmingham City Uni

Emily McIlroy, University of Derby

Gavin Randhawa, Birmingham City University

Hesham Abdelhamid, University of Gloucester

Jade Morris, Birmingham City University

Kaylee Poloczek, University of Northampton

Lydia Johnson, Birmingham City University

DATA JOURNALISM

Becky Tombs, University of Derby

Calum Archibald, Birmingham City University

Carmen Aguilar Garcia, Birmingham City University

Jessica Francis, University of Worcester

Kirsty Card, Birmingham City University

Sania Aziz, Birmingham City University

Victoria Oliveres Torrescassana, Birmingham City University

Wan Ulfa Nur Zuhra, Birmingham City University

FEATURES

Abigail Hunt, Nottingham Trent University

Annies Joy. De Montfort University

Beth Ennis & Katharyn Daniels, University of Lincoln

Ellie Kirwin-Jones, University of Gloucestershire

Eve Smallman, Nottingham Trent University

Gurjeet Nanrah, Nottingham Trent University

Hesham Abdelhamid, University of Gloucestershire

James Williams, University of Lincoln

Jane Haynes, Birmingham City University

Jessica Francis, University of Worcester

Matthew Taylor, University of Worcester

Ryan Plant, University of Derby

NEWS:

Amneet Kaur, City of Wolverhampton College

Becky Tombs, University of Derby.

Kirsty Card, Birmingham City University

Eleanor Prince, University of Worcester

Elliott Hawkins, University of Lincoln.

Gurjeet Nanrah, Nottingham Trent University

James Williams, University of Lincoln

Lynn Butler, University of Wolverhampton.

Sania Aziz, Birmingham City University

Wan Ulfa Nur Zuhra, Birmingham City University

PHOTOGRAPHY

Ben Booth, University of Derby

Ellen Flannery, University of Worcester

Kirsty Hatton, University of Worcester

Lauren Chivers, University of Worcester

Lynn Butler, University of Wolverhampton

Tara Watkin, University of Worcester

SOCIAL ISSUES & CAMPAIGNING JOURNALISM

Adrienne Titley, University of Worcester

Ama Esson, University of Northampton

Chloe Hughes, University of Worcester

Daniel Rundle, Birmingham City University

Jane Haynes, Birmingham City University

Lucy Pegg, Nottingham Trent University

Lynn Butler, University of Wolverhampton

Sam Ogun, University of Northampton

SOCIAL MEDIA JOURNALISM

Becky Tombs. University of Derby

Beth Ennis & Katharyn Daniels, University of Lincoln

Dominic Scott-Bone, University of Derby

Thomas Smith, University of Derby

SPORT

Adam Barker, University of Derby

Adam Micklewright, University of Gloucestershire

David Wainwright, University of Derby

Hritika Sharma, University of Derby

James Williams, University of Lincoln

James Vukmirovic, City of Wolverhampton College

Jim Quinlan, University of Derby

Jonathan Drake, University of Derby

Jon Hayward, University of Worcester

Louis Mitchell, University of Derby

Molly Hudson, Staffordshire University

Rob Stills, University of Derby

Sam Ogun, University of Northampton

Thomas Jobson, Staffordshire University

Thomas Smith, University of Derby

News You Can Trust

Local Newspaper Week has been renamed as“Journalism Matters” in order to better highlight the vital role that journalism plays in society.

This year’s event will take place between 13-19 May, and will include a Trusted News Day on 16 May which will see local newspapers show their readers exactly how trusted news is produced.

Journalism Matters will encompass the Society of Editors Regional Press Awards, at which the annual Making a Difference award for the best local newspaper campaign, as voted for by the public, will be announced.

News Media Association (NMA) chairman David Dinsmore, said: “The role of news media holding power to account is more important now than it ever has been. The new Journalism Matters campaign will boldly and unashamedly champion journalism as a force for good in our society.”

Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker, who is vice-chairman of NMA, said  “Local media is the most trusted source for local news and information; more than three times more trusted than social media. As a sector, we must continue to remind all our audiences of the essential role local news brands play in communities the length and breadth of the UK, and Journalism Matters will provide us with a strong platform to do just that.”

Journalism Matters logo.jpg

Steven Gets His Dream Job

Ex-care worker Steven Collins has started his dream job – fulfilling a lifetime’s ambition to become a journalist.

Steven, aged 39, is the first of a legion of 80 Facebook-funded community news reporters to take up a two-year fixed-term contract. Operating from the Worcester office of Newsquest, he will focus on covering stories from the county’s rural communities.

The new jobs are being funded by a £4.5 million charitable donation from Facebook to the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

The training organisation is working with regional publishers to roll out the scheme which, as well as ensuring news coverage for “under-reported” areas, also aims to increase diversity in newsrooms.

Steven, who said he has “Asperger syndrome and is proud of it”, previously worked in the care industry supporting people with mental and physical disabilities. He is halfway through studying for the NCTJ diploma in journalism by distance learning.

“I cried when I was offered the job because it was my life’s ambition to become a journalist and I never thought it would happen. It was a very emotional moment for me. I’m really looking forward to giving a voice to people in rural communities who perhaps feel their views and issues aren’t always heard,” said Steven.

Worcester News editor Michael Purton, said: “I’m really proud that we’re the first to appoint a Facebook funded community reporter, and I’m even prouder that we’ve taken on Steven as it’s fantastic to help someone realise a lifelong ambition that they thought would never come true.

“During the recruitment process, I was blown away by Steven’s passion for local journalism and his determination to become a reporter. He’s going to be a huge asset to our newsroom.

“We all know how important Facebook is for helping local newspapers connect with their community, so for Facebook to fund these roles is fantastic for our industry.”

Pictured: Steven (right) with Michael Purton, editor of Worcester News

Pictured: Steven (right) with Michael Purton, editor of Worcester News

Press Club visit to BCU media suite

Networking night is back on the Press Club programme – but this month it’s a different format from that of our traditional “First Thursday” event. Instead, we’ll be taking a close look at the state-of-the-art facilities being used by next-generation journalists and broadcasters who are studying at Birmingham City University. 

The University’s School of Media is a recognised centre of excellence in providing media education in the UK and we’ll be able to find out why it is held in such high regard when members visit BCU on 19 March (6.30 pm start).

Sarah Jones, who is head of the School of Media, said: “We are pushing the boundaries of media practice and research and through a range of courses, we are redefining media landscapes. Students come here to study journalism, film, media production, media communication, PR and music industries. They graduate with core media skills - but with an edge and flair allowing them to adapt in an ever-changing media landscape.”

More than 400 students enrol every year with the School of Media, which is based at the university’s city centre campus, Millennium Point.

If you would like to visit the School of Media (Post code: B4 7XG) please e-mail Press Club vice-chairman Fred Bromwich at fred.bromwich@btinternet.comto reserve your place.

Preserving Photographic Past Online

A Midlands newspaper has made 3,000 archive photographs – some of them more than 50 years old - available free to the public online 

The Wolverhampton-based Express & Star has uploaded the images as part of a project which eventually aims to preserve its entire 140-year-old archive in digital form.

The project was set up in 2008 by the Express & Star, along with the University of Wolverhampton and Wolverhampton City Archives, to ensure photos taken throughout the 20th Century were made available to the public via an online platform.

Development funding of £59,800 was initially awarded to the partnership in 2014, and since then archiving work has been carried out by a group of volunteers, followed by the digitisation of part of the collection and the development of the website.

The first images to be published on the website include photos from the 1960s taken at steel industry operations across the Black Country, images from the final years of mining and pictures of workers for brands with local heritage including Cadbury’s and Chubb.

Express & Star editor Martin Wright said: “We are delighted that the first photos have been brought back to life for local people to revisit their shared history, all on a website made available for free.

“We are grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for supporting our partnership with the University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton City Archives and local community groups.

“Some printed images are deteriorating over time so the preservation work is vital. Thank you to all of the readers and members of the public who supported the project during the painstaking work needed to preserve the photographs.”

Chris Leggett, marketing and communications director of Express & Star publisher Midland News Association, who chaired the project steering group, said: “On behalf of everyone who worked on the project, I would like to thank all our partners and supporters for their combined efforts in preserving these photos for future generations. We are especially grateful to our volunteers, who gave a combined total of 260 days of goodwill time to help organise the physical archive ready for its transition to digital.”

Work will now begin on securing funding to preserve other historic photos, including local and mostly unseen images of World War II, as well as landmarks and places.

The collection includes wartime images which were not published due to government censorship and a photograph of American civil rights activist Malcolm X visiting Smethwick in 1965, nine days before he was assassinated.

Following digitisation, the original images have been transferred to Wolverhampton City Archives where they will be preserved for future generations.

Mercury links up with basketball champs to recruit journalism student

Journalism student Samuel Gill has become the first recipient of a new basketball internship, which has been launched by the Leicester Mercury in partnership  with current British champions Leicester Riders.

As part of his internship, Samuel, a first-year student at De Montfort University, will work with the Riders to learn marketing and content production techniques and with the Mercury’s sister website Leicestershire Live to learn digital publishing. In addition, he will be reporting on the Rider’s games.

“As an aspiring journalist, I see this as a perfect opportunity for me to further my experience in the industry while gaining an insight into two hugely reputable organisations in the Riders and Mercury,” said Samuel, whose coverage is set to complement match reports and coach columns which are carried by the Mercury.

Editor George Oliver said: “De Montfort University in Leicester is hugely keen to get its students effective work experience in industry. Leicester Riders are the British basketball champions and are hugely keen to reach more people through increased coverage on Leicestershire Live.”

Kevin Routledge, chairman of Leicester Riders, added: “We believe this is a great partnership, working with the Leicester Mercury and DMU, to develop a new source of digital content promoting the Riders, but also increasing the reach of the Leicester Mercury in a world where digital content is so important.”

“We believe this is an excellent way of working innovatively to address current market challenges, while providing a great opportunity for a DMU sports journalism student to develop their skills and experience.”

Local radio breakfast shows off the menu

About 95 local radio presenters could lose their jobs as a result of plans by Global to launch UK-wide national breakfast shows on Capital, Heart and Smooth radio.

Staff teams affected include regional commercial, regional programming staff & presenters, regional news, regional engineering and regional marketing.

The re-organisation means that the highly-popular breakfast show hosted on Heart West Midlands by broadcaster-journalist Ed James (pictured) is to be dropped after being on the airwaves since 2002.

Last year, Ed, a former Birmingham Press Club chairman, co-founded a creative agency, HDY, which is based at the Custard Factory in Birmingham.

Following the changes, Global say they will be creating the three largest commercial radio breakfast shows in the UK, with 4.8m, 3.7m and 2.7 million listeners respectively each week.The changes mean, however, a reduction in locally-produced programmes.

The first network breakfast show will be launched by Capital in April with Heart and Smooth following later in the year. Heart will have a single breakfast show across England, Scotland and Wales instead of the current line-up of 22 breakfast shows. It will also have ten drivetime shows instead of the current 23 separate drivetime shows.

 Smooth will create a new national breakfast show replacing breakfast programmes in East Midlands, West Midlands, North West, Lake District, North East, Scotland and Wales

Global says local news and travel information "will continue to air on a local licence level as per legislation requirements". But it also said its news teams would see "refreshed structures" along with engineering and marketing.

The companies have been given the go-ahead by broadcasting regulator Ofcom, which relaxed its rules on how and where stations make their programmes last October. Ofcom removed the requirement for locally made weekend programmes and redefined regions to align with ITV regions.

 Informing staff of the news, Ashley Tabor, Global's founder, said it "would mean change". But he also said "the ability to lead the commercial radio sector's next huge step, and to properly compete with BBC Radio 1 and 2 at breakfast time" was "a huge opportunity".

Media Student Awards are a “Priceless” Experience

Conor Rees, the University of Worcester graduate who won the 2016 Media Student of the Year accolade, is advising those entering this year’s awards that just getting their entries before the panel of judges can be a “priceless” experience.

Conor (pictured), who picked up two category awards as well as the prestigious Student of the Year trophy, now publishes the high-quality 99 Percent Lifestyle magazine.

He said: “I truly believe that award schemes are worthwhile entering if you get the opportunity to do so.  Even if you don’t think you have any chance of winning, getting your work in front of a panel of experts can be priceless if you are able to get feedback.

“When I entered the Midlands Media Student Awards, organised by Birmingham Press Club, I didn’t think I would get on the shortlist let alone pick up three awards. Since then, I have kept in close contact with a number of the judges and those at Birmingham Press Club, who have given me access to a lot of opportunities, including one year being a judge at the Midlands Media Awards.” 

Conor’s award-winning magazine started life as a university project but is now sold in shops around the UK, Europe and Asia – and through its own online store has achieved sales in over 25 countries.

He said: “I produced the magazine as a portfolio piece and entered the awards thinking it would be good for my CV. After winning, it opened my eyes to the fact that people liked my work.  Head judge Peter Lowe, Managing Editor of Sky News, gave me great feedback and made me realise that this particular piece of work had a life outside of education. It really made me want to give it a go and see if anyone else would be interested in my magazine.

“Over the past year, together with fellow-Birmingham designer Luke Tonge, I have redesigned the magazine and developed a set of brand guidelines that define what the magazine is about and its mission. I’m glad to say that since its ‘birth’ the magazine has been growing every single day.”

The next issue of 99 Percent Lifestyle  (www.99PercentLifestyle.com) – focusing on the world of travel – will be published in March, with contributions from Youtuber Dance Mace, who shares a gripping story of oppression during an Indonesian drug scam, and Ben Page, who draws attention to the duality between solitude and loneliness on solo travel trips.

The magazine’s mission is to focus on the world’s best creators and entrepreneurs and through interviews with “inspiring” individuals around the globe opens up a world of enlightened stories and experiences.

·     Categories for this year’s media student awards include broadcasting, culture, data journalism, features, news, photography and social media. The deadline for entries is 7 March.

·     The awards ceremony takes place on 10 April at Mama Roux’s, Digbeth’s latest leisure venue. Individual tickets are priced at £30, including VAT. To make a booking visit https://www.midlandsmediaawards.co.uk/studentawards

·     Entry details are available by going to https://www.midlandsmediaawards.co.uk/studentawards

Awards Enquiries - Jo Jeffries: jo@7loco.com    

Press Club enquiries - Fred Bromwich: fred.bromwich@btinternet.com

One of the spreads in the March issue of Conor’s magazine.

One of the spreads in the March issue of Conor’s magazine.

BBC Presenter Lined Up for Media Student Awards

A talented young radio presenter will be guest speaker at the Midlands Media Student Awards, being held in Birmingham on Wednesday, 10 April.

Alex Noble (pictured), a graduate from the University of Nottingham, showcases new musical talent on the radio programme, BBC Music Introducing in the West Midlands.

BBC Music Introducing, first launched in 2007, is dedicated to discovering and supporting new music. It allows undiscovered artists to have their tracks played on BBC local radio shows and also provides up-and-coming artists with broadcast opportunities on TV and online, as well as the chance to perform at major festivals and showcases.

Alex, who has also worked as a BBC producer in the East Midlands, said: “Showcasing some of the best in new music from one of the most vibrant areas in the UK is a delight. But, as a freelance social media strategist myself, I’m also well aware of the emerging talent amongst the region’s media sector so it will be great to meet and discuss the future with our next-generation media specialists.”

The Midlands Media Student Awards, originally introduced in 2015 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Birmingham Press Club, the event organisers, are this year being held on 10 April at Mama Roux’s, Digbeth’s latest leisure venue.

Individual tickets are priced at £30, including VAT. To make a booking visit https://www.midlandsmediaawards.co.uk/studentawards

Award categories include broadcasting, culture, data journalism, features, news, photography, social media and photography. Event organiser Jo Jeffries said that the deadline for receipt of entries was 7 March.

·      Lincoln University student Natasha Turney, chosen as Student of the Year at the inaugural awards, is now a BBC broadcast journalist, while Worcester University student Conor Rees, who took the accolade in 2016, is publishing a lifestyle magazine.

Entry details are available by going to https://www.midlandsmediaawards.co.uk/studentawards

Awards Enquiries - Jo Jeffries: jo@7loco.com    

Press Club enquiries - Fred Bromwich: fred.bromwich@btinternet.com

Bank’s boost for ambitious exporter

Black Country-based Sirus Automotive, the UK’s leading provider of Upfront Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs), has received a £500,000 refinance package from HSBC UK to support its new Research & Development (R&D) programme and facilitate its ambitious international expansion plans.

The business, established in 2004, has supported over 15,000 drivers and passengers to overcome every-day mobility issues by converting and adapting vehicles. Its compact designs are built for wheelchair users driving from a wheelchair or travelling upfront as a passenger, as well as offering an adaptations service for customers with standard cars.

Sirus, which has set up new distribution contracts in Europe and New Zealand, will use the funding to drive forward its new R&D programme. This will include the expansion of its operations in Wednesbury, where the business has built additional office space to accommodate its expanding team. 

 Simon Pearson, managing director of Sirus Automotive Ltd, said:“We have a dedicated R&D team that takes a fresh approach to vehicle conversions. We are passionate about our continual new product development programme, which aims to meet our customers’ every-day mobility needs. Thanks to our Relationship Manager at HSBC UK, Alex Richards, we will be able to continue on our journey, including our expansion plans in Europe and New Zealand.”

Stephen Peart, Area Director for Business Banking in the Black Country, HSBC UK, said the bank wasactively supporting UK businesses by connecting them to international opportunities. “The vehicle mobility market is growing rapidly and Sirus has proved to be at the forefront of innovative designs and solutions for drivers and passengers who are affected by a disability. Due to its success in the UK, the business has won distribution contracts for Europe and New Zealand,” he added.

Over the last three years, since David Gee and Andrew Ramsbottom of Advert Partners LLP acquired a share of the business, the team has increased turnover by 60 per cent.

Caption: From left to right, top to bottom: Andrew Ramsbottom (Director, Sirus Automotive), Alex Richards (Relationship Manager, HSBC UK), David Gee (Director, Sirus Automotive) and Simon Pearson

Weekly creates online archive

An award-winning Staffordshire weekly newspaper has launched a new video series telling the stories of its older readers about their lives on its patch. The Tamworth Herald – winner of the Newspaper of the Year trophy at the Midlands Media Awards on two separate occasions - has created the online archive, which it hopes will benefit a younger generation.

The Herald is now appealing to people over the age of 60, who have lived in the Tamworth area since childhood, to come forward for the project. The first video in the series is now online, and features 88-year-old Madge Jackson.

Herald news editor Helen Machin (pictured) said: “Madge is a wonderful storyteller with a whole host of memories to share; it all makes for interesting viewing and we are delighted to be working alongside a local professional for this new online feature, which we hope will be a regular slot.”

The films are being produced in association with production company Eternity Videos. Filmmaker Barry Wale said: “It’s a real privilege to be working alongside the Herald on this project. This is the newspaper I grew up with and has been in the family home for as long as I can remember – and it still is.”

Strictly speaking, dance studio gets “thumbs up” from HSBC UK

HSBC UK, which has a £1.1 billion lending fund to support small and medium-sized enterprises across the West Midlands, has provided a commercial mortgage package to the AURA Dance Studio, allowing the Solihull-based ballroom and Latin dance school to acquire the studio it has rented for the last five years.

 The dance school, run by Martin and Carol Cutler and their children Charlotte and James, opened in 1994 and now sees 500 students a week across its ballroom, Latin and fitness classes.By purchasing the studio, the Cutler family has secured the future of the dance school, enabling them to make improvements to the studio space, including a new reception area.

Martin Cutler, AURA Dance Studios Director, said: “We’ve seen a massive uplift in interest in dance in the last ten years, both recreationally and professionally. We’ve developed a high standard of teaching at AURA and are thrilled that HSBC UK has backed the business, in turn enabling us to continue expanding the school. Our HSBC UK Relationship Manager Dominic Smith supported us throughout the application process and demonstrated his clear understanding of our business and aims.”

Stephen Peart, West Midlands Business Banking Area Director of HSBC UK – which is the Press Club’s overall sponsor - said: “We were delighted to be able to support AURA Dance Studio in purchasing the dance school, which gives the business the security to focus on expanding and improve its dance offering. Dance continues to increase in popularity and AURA has a bright future ahead of it.”

AURA Dance Studio is one of the biggest dance schools in the country and attracts world-class dancers from across the globe, alongside its popular classes for toddlers and adults.

 

Pictured, left to right, are James Cutler (AURA Dance Studio), Tony Seaton (Blue Sky Corporate Finance), Martin Cutler (AURA Dance Studio), Charlotte Cutler (AURA Dance Studio) and Dominic Smith from HSBC UK.