Media website Hold The Front Page revealed today (5 September) that editorial jobs are set to be lost as part of a pilot which will see the Birmingham Mail’s online operation become
independent from the print product.
The Mail’s website is set to be rebranded as Birmingham Live in a move which will also see the title’s journalists return to the city centre after ten years at their current Fort Dunlop home.
Publisher Trinity Mirror says the changes will see a “small net reduction in the number of newsroom roles” in Birmingham as a result, although it has declined to say how many. However, the company says a number of new print-only content roles are being created to write mainly for the Mail, as well as some new commercial and IT roles designed to “expand
Trinity Mirror’s reach” in the city.
The new approach will allow Birmingham Live the “latitude to throw all of its resources into one big story for a whole day if that is what its audiences want, without worrying about filling the next day’s paper”.
The publisher has started a period of consultation with affected staff over what it describes as “significant” changes in working practices and culture involving rotas and job descriptions.
In a statement, the company said the changes were aimed at creating “a completely standalone, profitable and sustainable digital business.”
“The new ‘Birmingham Live’ brand presents an opportunity to reach a wider range of audiences, communities and advertisers than that currently served by the Birmingham Mail,” it said. “The Mail, like other Trinity Mirror newsrooms, adopted the ‘digital first’ approach three
years ago, but teams have remained integrated. This new structure is designed to reflect the increasingly divergent needs of digital and print audiences.”
Mail editor Marc Reeves (pictured) said “This is an extremely important step for the Birmingham region. The city is the youngest and most diverse in the UK, with a massive appetite for digital news and information.
“Birmingham Live is our response to this, and a bold move to take the initiative to create a sustainable digital journalism business. Regrettably a number of jobs will go as we restructure. However, if the model we’re building is successful, we will be employing more journalists and serving more readers than would be the case if we sat back and did nothing.
“One of the most exciting aspects of the change is our long-overdue move back into the city centre after ten years in our current base at Fort Dunlop. I know this will be welcomed in the city and will go a long way to help us connect with our readers.”
The Mail has been based at Fort Dunlop, near the M6, since 2008. Prior to that it was headquartered in the city’s Colmore business district.