Fledgling publication gets the chop

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 16.51.27.png

Shropshire Weekly, a paid-for title launched in March of this year by the Midland News Association, has closed down. However, all of its staff have moved to new roles within MNA, which owns the Shropshire Star and Express & Star.

At the time of its launch, Weekly promised “essential writing around life and culture in Shropshire and surrounding areas.” It was on sale at a cover price of £2.50.

In a statement announcing the title’s closure on its website, editor Thom Kennedy said: “Publisher the Midland News Association has reluctantly taken the decision to close Shropshire Weekly.

“Shropshire Weekly was a bold attempt to do something different in the local publishing market and proved to be an excellent magazine showcasing some superb journalism. Unfortunately, achieving the necessary sales to make Shropshire Weekly a sustainable publication proved extremely difficult.

“Closing the magazine is disappointing, but every effort has been made to ensure we retain the best elements of the magazine for use in our sister daily newspaper the Shropshire Star.”

MNA Print managing director Graeme Clifford said: “Despite the work of everyone involved, including colleagues in the marketing and circulation teams who have tried to raise awareness of the title, it has not been possible to grow an audience to make Shropshire Weekly sustainable.

Earlier this month MNA merged seven existing titles to launch Chronicle Week, which it has dubbed “Britain’s biggest free weekly newspaper”.

New venture ahead for retiring editor

Steve Hall, Derby Telegraph.jpeg

A long-serving regional editor who was named the best in the business in 2012 is stepping down after 36 years in the industry.

Steve Hall is bowing out as editor-in-chief of Reach plc’s East Midlands titles including the Derby Telegraph which he has edited in two separate spells, with a stint as managing director of the paper in between.

He will be replaced as editor-in-chief by Marc Reeves, whose portfolio will now take in all Reach newsbrands across the East and West Midlands.

Now Steve (pictured) is planning a new venture which will “utilise the skills” he developed in leading both the editorial and commercial teams in Derby.

Under Steve’s leadership, the Telegraph was named newspaper of the year at the Regional Press Awards in 2016, while he himself was named editor of the year at the 2012 awards after a successful campaign to save Derby’s Bombardier rail factory.

He said: “I have had a wonderful 36 years in regional media and have worked with some of the most fantastically talented and committed people. Together we have fought to save jobs, expose abuse scandals, track down on-the-run paedophiles, build new hospital units and raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity.

“I wish all the teams in the East Midlands – and across the wider Reach group – every success for the future.

“I now plan to take a short break before utilising the skills I developed leading both editorial and commercial teams in a new venture.”

Before taking over at Derby for his first spell as editor in 2005, Steve edited the Express and Echo in Exeter, then a daily title, for seven years. He became MD in 2012, but returned to the editor’s chair four years later as well as being appointed to his wider role as regional editor-in-chief, also overseeing the Nottingham PostLeicester Mercury and Burton Mail.

Reach’s regional editorial director Alan Edmunds said: “Steve is a first class editor with a superb record and has been a leading figure in the Midlands media for many years. During his time steering the East Midlands region for Reach he has led many important changes in excellent fashion. He has our most sincere thanks and will leave at the end of November with our very best wishes.”

With Marc now taking on an expanded brief, his role as senior editor in Birmingham will be taken over by Anna Jeys who is also promoted to the role of editor of Birmingham Live.

Julie Bayley, who has run the Telegraph website under Steve for a number of years, is promoted to the position of editor for DerbyshireLive.

More sponsorship support for Midlands Media Awards

Simon Morris.png

Bareface, the award-winning advertising and marketing agency, whose Birmingham office is located at the Custard Factory, a leading hub for creative and digital businesses, is the latest company to sign up as a sponsor of the Midlands Media Awards.

It joins the ranks of headline sponsor HSBC UK, Birmingham City University and Edgbaston Stadium.

Managing Director Simon Morris (pictured), who founded Bareface in 2008, said: “We can’t wait to celebrate and reward the best of the best in the Midlands.”

The agency specialises in content production, brand creative and strategy, social strategy, integrated campaigns and web development.

This year, the Awards are being organised by 7LOCO, a Birmingham-based events company, on behalf of Birmingham Press Club. They are held to recognise the achievements of journalists, broadcasters, photographers and bloggers throughout the East and West Midlands.

Edgbaston Stadium, one of the region’s leading leisure venues, is to host the Awards ceremony, which take place on Friday, 23 November.  Tickets for the event may be booked online at www.midlandsmediaawards.co.uk

Club chairman Llewela Bailey said:  “The Awards are now in their 17th year and we are delighted that they continue to be as popular as ever – both with entrants and sponsors.”

New Recruit for Events Committee

Lewis Warner 3.jpeg

Birmingham Press Club chairman Llewela Bailey has welcomed on board a new addition to the Club’s Events Committee.

Latest to join the committee is Lewis Warner (pictured), a journalism graduate from Staffordshire University, now working in television.

Lewis, at the start of his career, has just joined ITV Central as a production journalist after a spell as a reporter/video journalist for MADE, the local TV station.

He graduated in Broadcast Journalism from Staffordshire University where he was also Station Manager of the student TV channel and Head of News on the student radio station. 

Lewis also has experience working for BBC Local Radio, commercial radio news and as a reporter for That’s TV in Manchester.

Llewela said:  “We are fortunate to have recruited such a talented young journalist at the start of what I am sure will be his very successful career.”

Black Country to get “Britain’s biggest free newspaper”

The Midland News Association (MNA) has launched what it claims to be “Britain’s biggest free weekly newspaper” – but seven existing publications are having to make way for the new Chronicle Week

The new publication will have five editions covering Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Cannock, which were all previously served by dedicated versions of the Chronicle.

Readers in Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell and Cannock will continue to receive a dedicated edition but the Dudley edition will also feature news from the towns of Halesowen and Stourbridge, which previously had their own editions.

MNA print MD Graeme Clifford with Chronicle Week

MNA print MD Graeme Clifford with Chronicle Week

As a result of a restructure coinciding with the changes, two MNA editorial staff have taken voluntary redundancy and two other members of staff have retired, reports media website Hold The Front Page.

The launch edition of Chronicle Week is being delivered to 210,000 homes and will also be on sale in more than 250 newsagents. MNA says local stories will feature throughout each edition along with a comprehensive round-up of the week’s regional news.

Keith Harrison, Express & Star Editor

Keith Harrison, Express & Star Editor

Keith Harrison, editor of the MNA’s Wolverhampton-based daily the Express & Star, said: “We are delighted with the new Chronicle Week and the prestige of laying claim to being the biggest free weekly newspaper in the UK. There is a focus on positive stories with human interest, alongside the hard news which readers expect from us, plus eight pages of leisure features.”

The move by the MNA echoes a similar rebrand undertaken by Reach plc’s forerunner Trinity Mirror in the Greater Manchester area three years ago. TM launched the Manchester Weekly News in April 2015 to replace the Stockport Times, Wilmslow Express and the Advertiser series in Tameside, Salford, Oldham and Trafford.

MNA print managing director Graeme Clifford said: “The launch of Britain’s biggest free weekly newspaper is a prime example of the MNA’s commitment to continuing to invest in print. A lot of time and hard work has gone into making this product what it is, and we are very excited about its launch.”

Alongside the new product, the MNA will continue to publish the free weekly the Stafford Express & Star. MNA advertising director Louise Burns said: “The new print title has an improved offering for advertising which we feel will help to engage with readers in a more targeted way.

“Conversations are already under way with advertisers to update them on the changes and the new opportunity to accelerate coverage at a lower cost per thousand, which have been received positively.”


20181102 1CS photo.jpg

HSBC UK’s new headquarters in Birmingham is now officially occupied, with around 2,500 employees now working from the new building, the bank announced today (2 November)

The new Birmingham head office for HSBC UK – overall sponsor of the Press Club - represents part of a £200 million investment that HSBC is placing within the West Midlands, £70 million of which was spent on supplies from within 40 miles of site and signals a return to the bank’s Midlands roots.

The 11 story building is the first in Birmingham to be constructed to LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) Gold accreditation, with sustainability at the heart of its design. The building’s green credentials are clear:

  • A reduction in energy consumption of almost 24% compared to typical new build offices;

  • 30% of material used in the construction were from recycled sources, including one quarter of the steel used for the main structure;

  • Expected reduced water usage of 34%;

  • Over 30% of the materials used in construction are sourced and manufactured locally; and

  • Over 5,500 plants creating a living green wall from the ground floor atrium to the 10th floor lift lobby.

The 210,000 sq.ft building has around 2,500 HSBC UK employees from its retail and commercial banks and support staff who help run the bank’s day-to-day operations. The total number of employees in the Birmingham area will be around 3,500 across its different office sites and branches.

The facilities within HSBC UK’s new headquarters include:

  • A new HSBC UK branch using technology for secure remote appointments for mortgage applicants and financial reviews, giving customers much more flexibility;

  • Two floors dedicated to the HSBC UK University, being the bank’s centre in the UK for learning and development, with conference facilities, a 110 seat lecture auditorium and break-out and team-building areas;

  • Industry-leading facilities to encourage an active workforce including a gym with virtual classes, and for those cycling to work, storage for 140 bikes and dedicated changing areas and drying rooms for cyclists’ clothes; and

  • Free bicycle use for HSBC UK employees to enable them to cycle around the city to meetings, or for recreational use, encouraging a fitter, greener, healthier Britiain.

Located at 1 Centenary Square, the building forms part of the Arena Central development, occupying a prominent position overlooking Broad Street and Centenary Square. The site was previously home to the famous ATV Television Studios where a number of iconic television programmes were filmed, the Masonic Hall as well as a Registry Office.

Ian Stuart, CEO of HSBC UK, said: “We have been planning for this moment for a long time, and I am very proud to be at the helm and witness this new chapter in HSBC’s history. The Midlands was home to this bank for many years, the first branch was opened here in 1836, and our 250 year lease shows our commitment to the region.

“We chose to locate our new head office in Birmingham because it’s a dynamic and entrepreneurial city, offering an attractive home for businesses and people at the heart of the UK. In talking with colleagues who have relocated to Birmingham from different parts of the country, it was certainly a good choice.    

“I am proud that this new building has been designed to the highest environmental standards and has been built by local contractors, with 90% of the teams coming from within a 40 mile radius of the city, helping us support the local economy.”

The entrance to 1 Centenary Square is guarded by two bronze lions nicknamed Stephen and Stitt after two HSBC senior managers in the 1920s, have a proud heritage in the bank, standing guard at HSBC head offices around the globe, including Hong Kong and London.

HSBC head offices around the world are designed with feng shui principles in mind and a traditional feng shui ceremony to formally introduce HSBC’s iconic lions into Birmingham took place before the new headquarters was occupied.  

Stephen and Stitt are positioned at the ‘mouth’ of our head offices in such a way to ensure the positive flow of energy, or ch’i can flow through.  

In 2015 the HSBC Group announced it would establish its HSBC UK head office in Birmingham.

HSBC UK was created as a separate ring-fenced bank in response to the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013 and received its full banking license from the Prudential Regulation Authority on 27 June 2018.

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.

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, 400,000 bank accounts were transferred to new HSBC UK sort codes and all HSBC branches in the UK were rebranded HSBC UK.

Channel 4’s off up north


Birmingham has lost out in the race to be chosen as the city for Chanel 4’s new headquarters. Instead, the broadcaster announced today (31 October) that it would be setting up its new national HQ in Leeds.

Llewela Bailey, chairman of Birmingham Press Club, described Channel 4’s decision as a “major disappointment and a “huge blow” to those who had campaigned to persuade the broadcaster to set up home in the city

“We’re a city with big ambitions and a bright future. In fact the city of Birmingham, and the surrounding region, has everything that Channel 4 could have ever wanted. Sadly it’s not to be.”

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, also registering disappointment at the decision, said:  “We congratulate Leeds on their victory but we have so much to look forward to here in Birmingham and the West Midlands, like the 2022 commonwealth Games, HS2 and the continued development of our city.

“London and Leeds are almost equal distances from Birmingham so we look forward extensive coverage on Channel 4.

 “We have no doubt that the brilliant cultural sector in the city and region will continue to flourish and go from strength to strength regardless of this decision,” he added

The channel also revealed that it would open “creative hubs” in Bristol and Glasgow, with around 50 staff in each location.

The moves are part of a plan to increase the amount Channel 4 spends on programmes outside London by £250m over the next five years. That means half of its programme budget will be spent outside the capital by 2023, up from 35 per cent currently.

All three new sites will house "key creative decision-makers" including programme commissioners who will have responsibility "for some of Channel 4's biggest shows and who oversee significant spend".

The new national HQ will regularly host executive and board meetings, and will be home to a "digital creative unit" to make material for online platforms and social media. Channel 4 News will also open three new bureaux outside London, but they may not be in the same locations.

Channel 4 said Leeds put forward an "ambitious strategy" to support growth in the creative industries and "to nurture new talent from diverse backgrounds - in the region and across the UK".

Chief executive Alex Mahon said: "Locating our national HQ in Leeds enables us to capitalise on a strong and fast-growing independent production sector in cities across the north of England - and also has the potential to unlock growth in the north-east and east of the country, an area without a major presence from other national broadcasters."

The move has come about after pressure from the government to boost the publicly owned broadcaster's presence outside London.

Channel 4 will still keep another headquarters in the capital, but will move roughly 200 of its 800 staff to the West Yorkshire city.

Journalism in decline? No fear!

JaW cover drop shadow.jpeg

A major research project exploring how the journalism industry has changed over the past six years has been published by the National Council for the Training of Journalists

The latest Journalists at Work report reveals that the number of journalists working in the UK has risen substantially from 65,000 in 2012 up to 73,000 now, contrary to the perception that journalism is an occupation in decline.

The report suggests that while fewer journalists are working in traditional sectors such as newspapers and magazines, journalism has become much more varied, with more journalists turning to broadcasting and digital platforms.

Ian Hargreaves, professor of digital economy at Cardiff University and chair of the research project, was pleased to see that journalists are happy to recommend their trade to the next generation.

He said: “Journalists appear to be more confident in general, as indicated in answers to my all-time favourite question in these surveys which asks whether journalists would recommend their trade to a young person.

“This year, 62 per cent of journalists say yes to that, against 51 per cent in 2012.”

Despite the changing nature of journalism, the number of journalists holding a journalism qualification has also increased, proving that journalism qualifications are more valued than ever.

Journalists still feel that traditional skills, such as disciplined interview techniques and strong ethics, are the bedrock of the profession.

While journalists now use numerous digital tools to source content, including social media and online search engines, journalists remain most confident about information gathered from interviewing.

In a big improvement from 2012, the majority of journalists feel they have had sufficient training in ethical issues, and there has been a significant increase in the proportion of journalists having confidence in the existing system of regulatory procedures in journalism.

The report also highlights the lack of diversity in the industry, revealing that 90 per cent of journalists are white, despite the concentration of journalism in ethnically diverse areas such as London and metropolitan areas in the UK.

It also remains a concern that social class affects the likelihood of entering the profession, with 72 per cent of journalists coming from a background where their parents worked in a higher-level occupation, compared with 41 per cent of the overall workforce.

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “Although journalists are now more positive about journalism being an open and receptive profession, diversity remains a big issue. We are therefore increasing our commitment and allocating more resources to tackling the problem.

“We’re working with leading employers to forge a new strategy for equality, diversity and inclusion which also features ambitions to scale up the Journalism Diversity Fund and to attract and train more journalists in our local communities.”

Death of ex-Trinity Mirror chief

David Faulkner.jpg

A former Midlands newspaper executive, who was an influential figure in local publications for more than 40 years, has died aged 71.

David Faulkner (pictured), the father of Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, passed away at his home in Chester.

David, whose career in newspapers spanned almost 50 years, was a former managing director of Trinity Mirror North Wales and Cheshire. He also held a senior position with Trinity Mirror in the Midlands.

As well as being at the Coventry Evening Telegraph, where he was managing director, he also worked on the Stockport Gazette, the Northern Echo, the Eastern Daily Press, the Western Mail, Chester Chronicle and North Wales Newspapers.

He was a former managing director of the Chester Chronicle group of titles before becoming managing director at rivals North Wales Newspapers Media, stepping down from that role last November after the firm was taken over by Newsquest. David, however, continued to work for Newsquest on a freelance basis to help develop its contract printing business. While head of the company which publishes the Chronicle group of newspapers – a role he held for nearly 14 years - David led a significant expansion of the business, including a merger with North Wales Independent Press.

Well-known within the business community, David was also president of Chester Business Club. He also served on a number of bodies working towards an economically and successful city and region, including Chester City Management, Chester Business Leadership Forum and Ellesmere Port Enterprise Agency.

David, who started his career in Reading, is survived by his widow, Maureen, and sons Paul and James.

The funeral service was held at St Mary’s Church, Handbridge, Chester.

Paul recalled: “I grew up immersed in the world of papers. I’d spend every night reading a huge range of local and national newspapers….which helped develop a rudimentary understanding at a young age as to why the principle of freedom of the Press – and freedom of speech more generally – was so important.”

Helping the Next Generation

mentoring pic.jpeg

Media Trust is a charity that works in partnership with the creative and media sector to promote skills-based volunteering in order to empower young people from diverse backgrounds to work in the industry.

Now it is looking for volunteers from the Midlands to take part in its Transforming Hidden Talent programme – and has scheduled 14 November for the training of mentors in Birmingham. A number of journalists from Birmingham Mail/Birmingham Live will be taking part.

The programme is funded by Comic Relief and provides one-to-one mentorship by professionals within the creative industries. Its aim is to help young people get work-ready whilst improving their confidence and resilience through monthly meetings and a number of masterclasses along the way.

Each year, 100 young people between the ages of 16-25 are recruited onto the initiative in Birmingham, London and Manchester.

Cara French, head of strategic partnerships with the Media Trust, said that the programme created “amazing opportunities” and that 80 per cent of those who participated in the programme’s pilot year in 2016 had moved into work, apprenticeships or educational openings.

By taking part, participants also benefit from help developing their CV, preparing for interviews and the opportunity to practice networking skills, whilst making new contacts within the media industry.

Via Media Trust, charitable organisations benefit from communications training, strategic advice and mentoring, plus access to skilled resource to help them create compelling digital and media content. Equally, young people, from diverse backgrounds, gain exposure to the media industry and develop their creative skills, confidence and connections. 

Cara added: “We enjoy outstanding support from leading brands in the creative and media industry and our corporate partners provide  invaluable skilled volunteers, who offer training, content creation and mentoring. Their passion, creativity and skills help us make a huge difference to so many people across the UK.”

All mentors, who are asked to give one hour a month for twelve months, undergo training and are supported throughout the year with a dedicated Media Trust team.

More details can be found on www.mediatrust.org

“Old Fella” links up with grandson – on the hockey pitch

Veteran reporter Bob Haywood told the Press Club website earlier this year all about the benefits of taking part in the growing sport of “walking football.”

Nick Hudson and grandson Luke.jpeg

Now another media “old fella” – 65 year pensioner old Nick Hudson – is back on the sports ground. This time, pulling on a red-and-black hockey shirt for the club he first joined 47 years ago!

It’s nearly a quarter of a century since Nick last played and he’s currently the oldest person competing for Atherstone Adders. But now what makes playing extra-special is that Nick is turning out alongside his 13 year old grandson, Luke.

In fact they are the first “two-generation-gap” players in the North Warwickshire club’s history, which, ironically goes back to 1953, the year Nick was born.

Nick said: “It’s great fun and a privilege to be turning out for my old club with Luke who is learning the proper way to play a sport which has transformed itself since I first started playing at King Edward VI Grammar School exactly 50 years ago.

Luke, a pupil at Nuneaton’s Higham Lane School, is getting the opportunity each week – through the Adders’ academy coaching scheme – to learn the finer points of hockey, at an earlier age, from a raft of dedicated experts, added Nick.

The pair have already enjoyed linking up in the first four league games of Adders’ Badgers Seconds campaign – as yet without a successful result, they admit.

“It’s great to learn a new sport from such keen and dedicated coaches – and to play with the ‘old fella’ on Saturdays,” enthused Luke.

Nick’s decision to go back to his first real sporting love is down to a lifestyle change in his eating habits. A Slimming World devotee at Thursday night sessions at Nuneaton’s Chase hotel, Nick has lost 7st in three years.

“At just over 11st, I’m lighter now than when I made my debut for Atherstone as an 18-year-old on the Higham Grange pitch in 1971. I scored that day in a 1-1 draw but I’m not sure I could do the same now,” added Nick. “Playing a sweeper role is probably my limit now.”

The club, once the Cinderella of hockey sides between Nuneaton and Tamworth, is now the leading light in the area – enjoying a higher league status than both its neighbours.

It’s a far cry from when Nick started at Atherstone – sharing the grass pitches with the rugby club at Ratcliffe Road.  The hockey club found itself fighting for survival in the late 1970s due to a mass exodus of players.

During Nick’s tenure as club captain from 1979-84, the club made numerous appeals for players – just to stay in existence. “When I captained the club and first team, we nearly folded in the late 1970s when many of our players jumped ship and went to Nuneaton Hockey Club,” added Nick. “When I needed help I turned to the club’s oldest player – the late Robin Hayns – as my mentor. He played the game into his 70s and was a wonderful ambassador for the club and the sport,” said Nick.

“But the driving force behind Atherstone Adders’ success today is Mick Thomas who ironically joined in the late 1970s when I put out an appeal in the local press for players to save the club from folding.

“Ex Atherstone schoolteacher Mick, a few months younger than me, has been with the club ever since and along with wife, Jill, has transformed its fortunes with the help of dedicated members, with quite a number with two, three and four members of the same family all playing. 

Former Birmingham Evening Mail reporter Nick, who now runs his own media agency, has worked for national publications in the UK and newspapers in Spain and Cyprus.

Deaths of ex-editor and former chief of ITV Sport

Two former stalwarts of Midlands journalism – Jeff Farmer and David Hopkinson – have died.

jeff farmerjpg.jpg

Jeff (pictured),  who passed away aged 79 after battling cancer, was a sports journalist on both the Wolverhampton Express & Star and Birmingham Evening Mail before joining the Daily Mail in 1970.

He left newspapers in 1981 to edit sport for ITV. Working in television, he led ITV's football coverage at four World Cups from 1986 to 1998 and was then invited on to the board of West Bromwich Albion in 2003 to aid on media matters. 

Jeff, whose proudest scoop was revealing that Brian Clough had left Derby County, retired in 2011, aged 72. He is survived by his wife, Kath.

Paying tribute, West Bromwich chief executive Mark Jenkins said: “Jeff always provided wise counsel and was a highly respected and greatly appreciated board member.”

Ex-Albion player Tony Brown said: “As anybody who ever met Jeff knows, he always had a thousand stories to tell you. He will be sadly missed.”

The funeral will be on 5 November at 12.30 at Streetly Crematorium followed by a reception at Moor Hall.

Meanwhile, the funeral service for David Hopkinson, acknowledged as one of the most outstanding provincial newspaper editors of his day, took place on 23 October at St Mary’s Church, Houghton, Cambridgeshire.


David, who died in hospital aged 88, after a fall, edited both the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail. But he made his name as award-winning editor of the Sheffield Telegraph for exposing assaults by Sheffield police on prisoners in custody in what became known as the “rhino whip affair.”

The son of a primary school head teacher, he was born in Huddersfield, cutting his teeth as a reporter on the Huddersfield Examiner before working for other local papers and for the Sunday Graphic in London. In 1961, he was appointed deputy editor of the Sheffield Telegraph in 196 before moving into the editor’s chair the following year.

David Hopkinson - as former staff at the Birmingham Post & Mail will remember him

David Hopkinson - as former staff at the Birmingham Post & Mail will remember him

David – known as “Hoppy” - moved to the Birmingham Post in 1964. Ten years later he was appointed editor of the Post’s sister paper, the Birmingham Evening Mail, and in 1975 editor-in-chief for all the company’s local papers.

He left in 1980 after a disagreement with the owners and soon afterwards Harold Evans appointed him chief night editor at The Times, where he became a familiar figure for many years, helping to maintain standards of production through the difficult times as the paper moved its printing operations to Wapping.

After seven years at The Times, David was promoted to deputy managing editor, and he continued to work at the paper after his official retirement in 1995 as consultant to the managing editor and as the newspaper’s representative in its dealings with the Press Complaints Commission.

David married Patricia Eaton, a secretary at the Birmingham Post, who died in 2014. He is survived by their daughter and son and a stepson. He also had three sons and a daughter from an earlier marriage.

Paying tribute to Hoppy, Ian Mean, who was chief news editor on the Birmingham Evening Mail from 1975 until 1984, said:

“There are lots of editors but not too many great editors. I have worked for a few of them but one really stands out in my mind—David Hopkinson, or “Hoppy” as he was known.

“My wife, Judy, who also worked for him in the 70s-attended his funeral the lovely village of Houghton near Huntingdon on Tuesday (23 October).

“David Hugh Hopkinson was our much loved and respected editor of the Birmingham Evening Mail when we both worked for him.

“I was chief news editor of the Mail from 1975-84 and my wife, Judy, was a news desk assistant on a paper that brings back great memories of the halcyon days of print.

“David led a team of really talented people--like Ian Dowell, a great friend of mine who was chief sub editor and we

had great reporters like Richard Littlejohn and Mike Parry.

“At its height, the Birmingham Mail was selling 375 000 copies a night and I had a team of nearly 50 reporters throughout the West Midlands. This was a big operation and mighty exciting with up to eight editions a day and white-hot competition down the road in Wolverhampton from the Express & Star.

“I loved those great print days when we were able to publish special editions to capture the breaking news—like the Pope being shot and getting out an edition in 20 minutes.

“These were days before the internet. These were days when I would write the splash from the television above the news desk during the Falklands War—dictating it paragraph by paragraph to Judy furiously trying to keep on the old Imperial typewriter and copy girl Jenny speeding that through to the subs and into the compositors on the same floor.

“You could hear those presses start up—an exhilarating feeling.

“Hoppy was astride of this great atmosphere of working—red braces and smoking a big cigar.

“He was the picture of a story book editor.

“It was a picture that one of the really great editors, Harold Evans, put into words so well in his book, Good Times, Bad Times (1983).

“Harry, who took David on as chief night editor of the Times after he left Brum, wrote that David was “ from the school of master sub editors”, adding he was like “Mr Pickwick, large, benign, blossoming, the body threatening at all times to burst free of the wide-striped shirt and the straining leather belt”.

The pinnacle of David’s career was in Sheffield in 1963 as editor of the Sheffield Telegraph when he exposed police brutality in what was known as the rhino whip affair.

He then went to Birmingham where he revitalised the Birmingham Post and then onto the Birmingham Evening Mail.

After seven years as chief night editor of The Times, David became deputy managing editor.

The Times in their page obituary of David on October 17 said that right up to the end of his life, his daily routine included a 500-yard walk through his pretty village to collect The Times.

When he failed to appear one morning last month the store owner contacted a neighbour who found him on the floor of his home having suffered a fall. He died shortly afterwards on September 29 aged 88.


Entries from the west of the region have dominated the shortlist for this year’s Midlands Media Awards, with Burton Mail, the 2017 winner of the Newspaper of the Year category, set to defend its title.

Sponsored by HSBC UK, Birmingham City University and Bareface, the creative agency, the awards are taking place at Edgbaston Stadium on Friday, 23 November.

Laurie Upshon, head of the judging panel, commented:  “We were very impressed by both the volume and the quality of entries this year. In particular we were delighted to see strong competition in the newcomer category. Here entries came from all branches of the media and across the Midlands, making the selection for the shortlist very difficult. 

“We were also pleased to see the difference starting to be made by the introduction of local democracy reporters in helping to scrutinise those in authority.”

He added: “The judges would have liked to have seen more entries for the Newspaper of the Year, but those we have nominated were of very high quality, showcasing regional journalism at its very best.  In fact the range of entries across all categories emphasised the diversity of our region and the different issues affecting the lives of those in the villages, towns and cities in the Midlands.

“Finally, I would like to thank everyone who entered for the awards, and for their continuing support, and offer our congratulations to those who have made the shortlists.”

Enquiries, re tickets, sponsorship, etc., should be directed to event organiser Jo Jeffries at jo@7loco.com

The nominations are as follows:

Blogger/Columnist (including hyper locals)

Anton Rippon, Derby Telegraph

Gabrielle Miller, Cool as Leicester

Jenny Amphlett, The Sentinel

Mike Lockley, Birmingham Mail & Sunday Mercury

Nigel Hastilow, Express & Star

Peter Rhodes, Express & Star

Ross Hawkes, Lichfield Live

Business Journalist of the Year:

Jonathan Gibson, BBC West Midlands

Justine Halifax, Leicester Mercury

Kurt Jacobs, Midlands Business Insider

Mark Gough, ITV Central

Robin Johnson, Derby Telegraph

Simon Penfold, Express & Star

Campaign of the Year:

Emma Ray, Coventry Live. : Help the Homeless.”

Express & Star. “Feed a Family.”

The Sentinel Newsroom. “Ryan Evans Tragedy & Swimsafe Campaign.”

Megan Jones, Free Radio. “Dying to Diet.”

Rupert Upshon, BBC WM.  “Make a Difference.”

Siobhan Harrison, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire. “2Tone Taxi.”

Features Journalist of the Year

Andy Bevan, ITV Central

Enda Mullen, Coventry Telegraph

Graham Young, Birmingham Live

Nicholas Reid, Derby Telegraph

Peter Bearne, ITV Central

Zoe Chamberlain, Birmingham Mail/Birmingham Live

Headline of the Year:

James Iles, Bromsgrove & Droitwich Standard

Mike Lockley, Sunday Mercury

Richard Jackson, Birmingham Mail

Magazine/Supplement of the Year

Birmingham Mail supplement. “Tribute to Cyrille Regis.”

Express & Star supplement. “Wolves Golden Day.”

Midlands Business Insider

Shropshire Business

Taste the Seasons

Focus (Stratford Herald)

Newcomer of the Year:

Awo Tarabi, ITV Central

Bethany Pridding, Burton Mail

Charlotte Winfield, Global’s Newsroom Midlands

Edna Hills, Tamworth Informed

Fionnula Hainey, Coventry Telegraph

Paige Oldfield, Burton Mail

News Reporter of the Year (Daily)

Alex Ross, Express & Star

Alison Stacey, Birmingham Mail

Enda Mullen, Coventry Telegraph

Jenny Moody, Burton Mail

Katy Hallam, Coventry Telegraph

Martin Naylor, Derby Telegraph

News Reporter of the Year (Weekly)

Beverley Holder, Stourbridge News

Mike Lockley, Sunday Mercury

Nick Horner, Sutton Coldfield Observer

Rebecca Miles, Hereford Times

Richard Castle, Uttoxeter Advertiser

Newspaper of the Year

Birmingham Mail

Burton Mail

Express & Star

Hereford Times

Sunday Mercury

Uttoxeter Advertiser

Online/Digital Journalist of the Year

Caroline Lowbridge, BBC East Midlands

Hannah Stokes, ITV Central

James Rodger, Birmingham Live

Katy Hallam, Coventry Telegraph

Lisa Wright, BBC West Midlands

Nathan Judah, Express & Star

Zoe Chamberlain, Birmingham Mail/Birmingham Live

Radio Journalist of the Year

Adrian Goldberg, BBC

Jordan Eggington, Global’s Newsroom Midlands

Kathryn Stanczyszyn, BBC WM

Lindsey Alder, Touch fm

Megan Jones, Free Radio

Mitch Rushton, Free Radio

Sports Journalist of the Year

Gregg Evans, Birmingham Live

Mark Edwards, Oxford Mail

Matt Wilson, Express & Star

Michael Sibert, ITV Central

Steve Clamp, ITV Central

Tim Spiers, Express & Star

Story of the Year

Balvinder Sidhu, ITV Central. “Asian Grooming.”

Global’s Newsroom Midlands. “Knife Crime on the Rise.”

Global’s Newsroom Midlands. “Hinckley Road Explosion.”

Jeanette Oldham, Birmingham Mail. “Investigation into Highly-sensitive Official Secrets.”

Matt Maddren, Free Radio. “Alfie Dingley’s Journey.”

News Reporting team, Coventry Live/Coventry Telegraph.  “Nuneaton Siege.”

Rupert Upshon, BBC WM. “Knife Crime.”

Television Reporter of the Year

Balvinder Sidhu, ITV Central

Jonathan Gibson, BBC West Midlands

Kathryn Stanczyszyn, BBC Midlands Today

Mark Gough, ITV Central

Navtej Johal, BBC East Midlands Today

Stacey Foster, ITV Central

Tony Flanagan Photographer of the Year Award

Darren Quinton, Birmingham Post

Richard Harris

Steve Bould, The Sentinel

Tim Easthope, Birmingham Mail/Birmingham Live

Tim Thursfield, Express & Star

Tim Sturgess, Express & Star

The President’s Award: To be announced on the night

Back to school for co-author of Finding Tipperary Mary

Bournville visit.jpg

A JOURNALIST and author who returned to her old school on Monday (15) was impressed with the present pupils – although the experience was very different to her time in the 1960s.

Bournville Grammar-Technical School was then a girls’ school, said Barbara Fisher, who has lived in London for the past 40 years, and has just published her first book, Tales from an Old Hack- Memoir of a Local Reporter.

In her day, the boys’ school shared the same campus (and produced Ian Lavender of Dad’s Army fame) but the genders were not encouraged to mix, even kept apart at lunchtimes.

“It was lovely to see an example of a good mixed comprehensive. The students were very attentive and polite and made me remember my first career as a teacher, which began in Birmingham where I was born and bred. The pupils were amused to hear how we met the boys once a week for ballroom dancing lessons after school, and I loved hearing their earliest memories which mostly entailed things going wrong such as being stuck in a washing machine.”

Barbara’s first job – as Miss Parsons - was at Wychall Farm Junior School. She married her Londoner, civil servant, Mike, at Longbridge Parish Church and her memoir includes time growing up in Birmingham. Her tales from journalism in West London include having lunch with the Queen, covering a plane crash and going on a pitbull raid with police.

She may be familiar to Mail readers for her collaboration with fellow Brummie Phyllis Whitsell on her book Finding Tipperary Mary, which became a Sunday Times bestseller. She is still a columnist for Reach, this paper’s publishers.

Broadcaster on way to Birmingham (but, as yet, it’s only for a debate)

Press Club president Bob Warman and Gary Newbon.jpeg

Channel 4 is coming to Birmingham. But, for now, it’s just for a one-off live debate show to look at what Britain thinks of Brexit.

A decision on Chanel 4’s relocation from London to Birmingham, Manchester or Leeds, originally expected this month, now looks likely to be announced in November.

The debate show will take place on 5 November with a live local audience and guests from the different sides of the debate. Ahead of the live debate, Channel 4 is commissioning a survey of 20,000 people from all over the UK, making it possible to examine attitudes on local, regional and national levels.

Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy will host the show with Sir John Curtice alongside to analyse the survey data.

The broadcaster is looking for Birmingham-based entrepreneurs, business owners and representatives to join in the debate and hear their unique perspectives on how the Brexit process is going, what the likely outcome might be and what should happen next for them and their business.

Anyone looking to take part in the show should email the producers on adam.smith@renegadepictures.co.uk with a short note about their business and their thoughts on Brexit.

Meanwhile, thefuture home of channel 4 was the topic of a successful debate held by Birmingham Press Club at Fazeley Studios in Digbeth. Nearly 100 people, from the media and creative sector attended the event, which was chaired by TV personality Gary Newbon of Sky Sport. The panel included Press Club director Marc Reeves, Editorial Head of Trinity Mirror in Birmingham and the West Midlands and broadcast journalist Marverine Cole, who is also journalism course director at Birmingham City University.

 There was optimism that when the announcement is made - probably in early November - Birmingham will be chosen ahead of Manchester and Leeds.

The event was sponsored by Bareface, the Digbeth-based creative agency.