HSBC further strengthens commitment to Birmingham with sponsorship of Press Club

Birmingham Press Club (BPC) has agreed a three-year sponsorship package with global bank HSBC, which is set to become one of the biggest employers in the city.

The two historic institutions – they were both founded in 1865 – will join forces as the bank becomes an increasingly important business in the heart of Birmingham.

Ed James, chairman of BPC, the oldest press club in the world, said: “We are thrilled to become associated with HSBC at a time when they are set to be one of the most important and largest businesses in the region.

“This agreement has secured the club financially for the foreseeable future and means that we can now continue to shape the club to cater for an ever-changing media scene in the city.

“We have many exciting plans, including further strengthening our Board of Directors. Thanks to HSBC’s support, the new partnership will enable us to consolidate and improve our flagship events, the Midlands Media Awards and the Midlands Media Student Awards.”

He added: “On behalf of Club members, I would also like to express our appreciation to the Club’s vice-president, John Lamb, who has been instrumental in establishing links with HSBC.”

Tim Harrison, HSBC Head of Communications – UK and Europe, said: “We are delighted to join forces with the historic and thriving Birmingham Press Club.

HSBC is establishing itself as an integral part of life in the Greater Birmingham region and the Press Club was a natural partner.”

HSBC has announced that it will be locating the national head office of its ring-fenced bank, which will serve its personal and business customers, in Birmingham in a new building at Arena Central in the city centre.

The move will involve relocating some 1,000 roles currently based in London to Birmingham from mid-2017 onwards to join the 2,500 staff already working in Birmingham. The creation of a ring-fenced bank is in response to the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013 and must be completed before 1 January 2019. HSBC’s decision to create the head office of its UK ring-fenced bank in Birmingham follows a review by the bank of a number of possible head office locations.

Brindleyplace lined up for First Thursday

Birmingham Press Club’s First Thursday networking evening on 2 June will see members meeting at All Bar One in Brindleyplace (B1 2HL).

It’s a great place to have a drink after work, so why not see us there.

As usual, we will be getting together from 5.45 pm. Meet in the Upstairs Bar.

But remember – to take advantage of our ‘free drinks’ offer you must be a signed-up member of the Press Club.

Details on how to join the Club may be found on our website, www.birmingham-press-club.co.uk or by getting in touch with Membership Secretary Adrian Kibbler on 07831 690940. E-mail him atadrian@akpr.ltd.uk

Newspapers - reports of their death are exaggerated

Keith Harrison, editor of the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star, heralds Local Newspaper Week, and says newspapers will be around for years to come – but only if they maintain their standards

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NEWSPAPERS are dead . . . aren’t they? It’s all about the internet these days, isn’t it?

Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Thischat, Thatchat – the future is upon us, so who needs the ‘dead tree press’? What is it still here for?

You can’t even wrap chips up in it any more – health and safety is more than anyone’s job’s worth, obviously.

Maybe we could put together a papier mache coffin and just bury the news once and for all. Lots of people would like that. Those appearing in court, for a start; the muggers, the burglars, the kerb-crawlers, the dangerous drivers, the brawlers, the fare-dodgers.

No newspapers means hardly anyone would know who’s been caught doing what.

One or two councils would probably breathe a sigh of relief, too.

Some would love information to be handed out solely through official (ie controlled) channels, ironically, such as council-produced newspapers.

We have seen open contempt at times for questions posed using the Freedom of Information Act. Yet without it, those in authority would sometimes seek to keep things from you – the people who pay their wages. You have a right to know.

They have a duty to tell you.

It is our responsibility to make sure that happens and that unshakeable principle applies to all public bodies, both on our patch and beyond. From Stafford hospital to New Cross whistleblowers, we continually scrutinise the NHS bosses there to care for us.

From the unsolved murder of Kevin Nunes to the suspension of deputy crime boss Yvonne Mosquito, we question those there to keep us safe. From job cuts and dubious land deals to the all-important question of who empties our bins, we keep on top of our local councils.

True, the Express & Star doesn’t have exclusive rights on asking awkward questions, but it’s one thing getting answers from those in authority – and another letting people know what those answers are.

In that sense, we provide a platform for people to have their say.

Take one of our pages this week as an example. Campaigners are battling against a huge freight depot in Essington. They’re doing a great job of putting their case across, but far more people will read their argument in print than came across them at the side of the road over the weekend.

Giving ordinary folk a louder voice is a big part of what we do and few independent institutions battle so hard for this region than this newspaper. Working with local partners, we’ve helped more than 1,000 young people find apprenticeships through the highly successful Ladder campaign.

We’re helping to hand out more than £4m to local companies to invest in the future with the Green Shoots fund. And we’ve helped dozens of groups get a share of a generous HomeServe fund via the Cash for your Community initiative.

In years to come, almost a million old pictures in our photo library will be made available for free after a mammoth digital archiving operation is completed.

Why am I telling you all this?

Well, this week is Local Newspaper Week and for all this positivity, these are admittedly challenging times for the industry. Reader habits and lifestyles are changing and people are busier than ever before. Time is an increasingly precious commodity and, despite my inky fingers, we are well aware that modern readers want – and need – to be served in many different ways.

The Express & Star is investing in its digital news operations, bringing you stories and information within seconds of news breaking.

Alongside their shorthand notepad and pen, our reporters carry smartphones to record videos, take pictures and record interviews that a few years ago would have taken a three-man crew.

Newspapers aren’t dead.

Far from it.  They are on the cusp of a new chapter of prosperity, combining traditional strengths with technological advances.

But we will only thrive if we maintain the standards we have set for hundreds of years, embrace the future and see an ever-changing media landscape as an opportunity, not a threat.

In short, we’re alive and kicking.

Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated.

Thanks for reading.

Running for Roger raises in excess of £3,000

The BBC’s online sub-editors and digital leaders formed a 23-person strong team of runners to take on the Great Birmingham 10k in memory of their dear friend and much-loved colleague Roger Bryson who died last year.

And the ‘Substandards’ team proved to be so much more than their name! Everyone finished the race - and even took third prize in their team category.

Many of the team had never run competitively before (or worn Lycra). But between them they managed raise more than £3,000 for St John’s Hospice in the Wirral, the place that cared for Roger and his family.

Roger was one of the first sub editors on the Birmingham-based team when it was founded at BBC Pebble Mill 15 years ago and it was while working with Digital England he met and married fellow BBC journalist Julia.  But sadly, not long before the birth of their second child, Florence, he became seriously ill. 

After a long period of ill health, Roger was diagnosed with inoperable bowel cancer.

BBC Digital England editor and Birmingham Press Club board member Eileen Murphy said: “Roger was a newspaper man who was in the first wave of digital journalism and helped build the foundations for the BBC website as we know it today. To top it all he was an amazing workmate and friend and our team spirit for the run came from our love for him and our BBC colleague Julia. Rog was a keen runner and it seemed a fitting way to raise money for a great cause.”

If you would still like to contribute to the Substandard team’s fundraising efforts the JustGiving page is still open - https://www.justgiving.com/substandards