Guest speaker’s debut as Presenter on BBC Midlands Today recalled by Press Club Life Member Kay Alexander

ITV presenter Julie Etchingham, winner of the 2016 Network Presenter of the Year category at the Royal Television Society’s Awards in London on 17 February, is to be made an Honorary Life Member of Birmingham Press Club in recognition of her services to journalism.

Guest speaker Julie will be installed as a Life Member at the Club’s Celebrity Luncheon on March 10 where she will be presented with the traditional Press Club bugle, created by Jewellery Quarter craftsmen at J Hudson & Co, the home of world-famous Acme Whistles.

Le Monde

Renewing acquaintances with Julie at the lunch will be former BBC Midlands Today presenter Kay Alexander and her husband, Brian Conway, who was at Radio Leicester in the 1970s when Julie started there as a “work experience” youngster.

Kay - herself an Honorary Life Member of the Press Club - said: “Julie was an excellent, young reporter for Midlands Today. Her first appearance as a presenter on the programme was with me. She was such fun. It has been such a pleasure to watch her become the professional performer and top notch journalist that she is.”

The lunch is being held at the award-winning Le Monde restaurant, located at The Water’s Edge, Brindleyplace, Birmingham (B1 2HL). Lunch will commence at 12.30 following a 12 noon reception.

By winning the RTS award, Julie repeated her success of 2010 when she became the first woman ever to win the Presenter of the Year accolade. The judges said she "demonstrated every aspect of the range of skills required from today's top news presenters – complete command of the studio, whether in the midst of a fast-breaking story or conducting an important interview; unflappable live presence on location; the ability to write and report well too; and the all-round talent to make a bit of history as well… as the first woman to present a general election leaders’ debate in this country.”

Born in Leicester, Julie got her first job in journalism working at her home-town BBC radio station, moving onto BBC Midlands Today as a presenter before locating to London. She then joined Sky News in 2002 before switching to ITV six years later to co-present the re-launched News at Ten alongside Sir Trevor McDonald.

One of ITV’s most popular presenters, Julie also co-hosted the station’s coverage of Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and, in 2013, travelled to Rome to provide coverage of the election of Pope Francis.

Back to the Printing Press

LastOctober’s Press Club networking tour of Trinity Mirror’s printing works in Erdington left some members disappointed because they weren’t able to join us.

So Trinity Mirror, publishers of the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail and Sunday Mercury, have agreed to host a return visit in March.

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Hot off the Press

The visit will be on 3 March, starting at 6.30 pm, and will replace our usual First Thursday drinks night. However, a great buffet will be provided – and there will be free parking on site!

Trinity Mirror prints more than 4.5 million newspapers each week at its site in Wood Lane (B24 9PW), using 300,000 tonnes of paper each year. In addition to TM publications, the plant – manned by an 80-strong staff – undertakes contract printing for a variety of other newspaper and publishing groups. Forty percent of its output is for Local World publications, including the Derby Telegraph – winner of the Press Club’s Newspaper of the Year accolade in 2014.

We’ll be there when copies roll off the presses. So if you want to join us for a fascinating night out book your place by emailing freddo@fbromwich.freeserve.co.uk