Martin’s At The Helm

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Shropshire Star editor Martin Wright has been appointed to the role of editor of the Express & Star and Midland News Association editor-in-chief following the company’s announcement that Keith Harrison is set to leave after a 25-year career with MNA.

Martin (pictured) will take overall responsibility for MNA’s daily newspapers - Express & Star and Shropshire Star - as well as its weekly portfolio and the monthly magazines. He will also lead on digital editorial content moving forward.

Graeme Clifford, MNA Print managing director, said: “Martin’s new role will see him lead a refocused editorial department to ensure greater collaboration takes place while our journalists continue to deliver the high standard of news coverage which readers expect from our titles.”

Martin worked for the Shropshire Star as a reporter before moving to be deputy editor at the County Times in Mid Wales. He edited the Oswestry and Border Counties Advertiser and the County Times before becoming deputy editor for NWN’s Leader and Cheshire Publications

Martin took up his current role in 2013, where he took over from Keith after his move to Wolverhampton. Keith is standing down after five years in charge of the E&S and 25 years with the MNA.

Missing you…….Sarah exits the Beeb

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TV personality Sarah Bishop, who has just left the BBC following a 25-year career, looks back on her experiences as a long-standing  journalist and newsreader on regional flagship programme Midlands Today – and reveals how she acted as a “make-up” lady to take the shine of a Prime Minister

It WAS a strangely exciting night: striding out into the cool summer breeze, the thrill of the unexpected at every corner. I was dressed like I was going to the front line (bullet proof vest, First Aid kit) But this wasn’t a war zone, this was Birmingham during the riots.

Reporting on them was an experience I’ll never forget. Only last week, I came across the rushes.  As looters scrambled through shards of glass, you can just make out my voice off mic. “Bloody hell, they’re nicking the tellies!”

And they were. Huge, sleek 55-inch flat screeners from Richer Sounds. I caught sight of a young woman trying to lug one down the road. It was a moment of comedy but also mild horror. Such blatant lawlessness – here in Birmingham?

It’s been a career of surprises to be honest.  Getting the only TV interview with former Aston Villa boss Randy Lerner, that was unexpected. Admittedly, I did have to fly to Ohio to get it. His American PR team said all along, “It’ll be a wasted journey he doesn’t do interviews” and at the Cleveland Brown’s super stadium, his young daughter cheerfully confided in me “Daddy doesn’t speak to people like you”

This was how it played out;

Randy: “Why won’t you take No for an answer, Miss Falkland”

Me: “Why are you so fixed Mr Lerner? “

In that instant it could have gone the other way of course, but as the emotion welled up in my eyes - as much out of sheer exhaustion as anything else, he must have changed his mind.  A few moments later, his PR man said “Five minutes at half time.” Randy didn’t want the camera anywhere near him, so it all looked a bit odd, and he didn’t say anything ground-breaking, other than his hopes for the Villa and his love of olde English football clubs. But it was an interview. I called my boss to tell him the good news. He didn’t mind that it was 3am.

And then there was Tony Blair. As a reporter on BBC CWR, I’d interviewed him briefly on the hoof in Coventry – as he and Alistair dashed for a helicopter to get back to London.

But I’d never been up close now he was PM and he was coming into the Mailbox to be interviewed by Nick (Owen).  I’d already edited for the programme that night, so was a loose end, the studio was getting set up and all his security team were hovering. I don’t know why but I suddenly thought I’d assume the role make-up lady (we haven’t had a make-up lady since the days of Pebble Mill by the way.) So I walked in and said “Hello Prime Minister, would you like some powder to take the shine off?”

“Oh gosh yes, thanks” he said, turning around and fixing me with smiling blue eyes.

Off I went with the foundation brush and the powder puff. It was quite an intimate moment really. Scrutinising every pore, every line on the Prime Ministerial face.

“Do you think that’s err, enough now?” he asked after a moment

“Maybe just a bit more” I quickly replied. “The camera lights get really hot you know”

Poor man was caked in it by the end. I did feel a bit naughty. Nothing worse than a shiny forehead on the telly though, hey!

It’s the ordinary folk who’ve made the most impact though. Families who’ve been torn apart by tragedy who bare their souls. I hope I’ve been true to them and true to their stories. I’ve been in such a position of privilege to report their lives.

I know it’s unprofessional, but even after all these years I still get upset for them.

I’m going to miss that contact with people. Miss walking up to people in the street and asking their opinion on everything from potholes to Prince Harry’s wedding.
And of course, I’m going to miss the team. I’ve worked with some of them for nearly 25 years. It IS a bit like a big family. We’re all there to support each other through thick and thin. But the time is right to go. So, I’m swapping on the day TV reporting with a smorgasbord of other stuff.  As I’m a performer at heart, there’ll be an element of events hosting (I don’t think I’ll be able to go too long without a mic in my hand) I’m also going to be passing on some of the things I’ve learnt along the way - so media training in the corporate world and working with future talent at some of our fantastic universities in the Midlands.

I’m sure I’ll miss the buzz of live broadcasting but it’ll be nice to work without a 150-mile round trip, impossible deadlines and that insistent voice in my ear counting down from ten, nine, eight….

Editor of England’s top selling regional daily calls it a day

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Midlands News Association has announced that Keith Harrison, editor of England’s biggest selling regional daily, is leaving the Express & Star newspaper after five years in charge and 25 years with its parent company.

Keith (pictured) first joined MNA as a senior reporter in 1993, and edited the Shropshire Star for two years prior to taking on the top job in Wolverhampton.

A decision on his successor will be made in due course.

In a statement, Keith said he was leaving the company “with great sadness”, but added he felt it was “now time for a new challenge.”

He added: “It has been a privilege to serve the company in numerous roles, particularly in 2011 when I had the honour of editing the Shropshire Star, and since 2013 as Editor of the Express & Star. In that time, it has been great to see our efforts as a team rewarded with various awards for our campaigning, our website and the overall quality of our work.

“It has been fantastic to work with so many talented journalists down the years and to have learned from some of the best in the industry. I would like to thank my colleagues past and present for their help and pay particular tribute to the Graham family for their unstinting support.

“The Express & Star is a special title in a special part of the country. It will always have a huge place in my heart and I wish it every success in the future.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to be part of this fantastic organisation and I’ve loved every minute. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

In August 2018’s ABC results, the Express & Star recorded a circulation of 42,208, the highest of any English regional newspaper.

MNA print managing director Graeme Clifford said: “On behalf of the MNA, I would like to thank Keith for his contribution during one of the most challenging periods in the history of our industry.

“Amid significant upheaval for regional news publishing, Keith has proved to be first a formidable journalist and then a highly capable editor. Keith has led the editorial team with great energy and leadership, building upon the MNA’s heritage for first rate local news coverage.”

Facebook finds way back for “lost” reporters

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Leading UK regional publishers and the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) are to partner with Facebook by funding 80 new community journalists for towns which have lost their local newspapers.

Reach plc, Newsquest, Midland News Association and Archant are all involved in the two-year pilot project, with recruitment of the new journalists expected to begin early next year.

The Community News Project, which will also aim to improve diversity in UK newsrooms, will be funded by a $6m charitable donation from Facebook to the NCTJ. Its aim is to encourage more reporting from areas of the UK, which are currently underserved, such as towns, which have lost their local newspaper and beat reporters.

The project will operate in a similar way to the BBC-funded Local Democracy Partnership, with the publishers employing the new reporters although they will be funded by Facebook via the NCTJ.

David Higgerson, chief audience officer at Reach, who has led discussions about the scope of the project on behalf of the publishers, said: “This project is a fantastic way of increasing the number of stories published that would otherwise not be covered. The funding will help us pioneer new ways of local news gathering and distributing stories to underserved communities. It will help us increase newsroom diversity and inclusion and the publishers are pleased to be working with the NCTJ to recruit, train and qualify the community journalists.”

Joanne Butcher, (pictured) chief executive of the NCTJ added: “The NCTJ cares deeply about the number, quality and diversity of journalists working in our local communities. We are very proud to support the sustainability of quality local journalism by overseeing the recruitment of additional local news journalists from diverse and inclusive backgrounds and by ensuring they are properly trained and qualified.”

The involvement of Facebook in funding the project will be seen by some as a response to the ongoing Cairncross Review of the newspaper industry, which is looking into whether the tech giants should be forced to recompense publishers for the content they use on their platforms.

Facebook said today that it is committed to doing more to support publishers.

Sian Cox-Brooker, strategic partner manager at Facebook, said: “Having started my career at my local paper, I understand how local news really helps to inform and strengthen communities. Together with the NCTJ and regional news publishers, we want to help encourage more reporting in underserved areas of the UK. Our hope is that, ultimately, the Community News Project helps more people access the news that matters to them most.”

Trainees without the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism will receive training to achieve the qualification, while those who have passed the diploma will work towards a new National Qualification in Journalism for community journalists.

He’s done it again. And in time for Christmas too!

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Ex-Birmingham Post business editor John Duckers has just published his third children’s story book – and among the first to have the opportunity of buying “Santa’s Story Sack” will be those attending Birmingham Press Club’s annual Christmas lunch on 14 December.

John says his latest creation is “the definitive compilation of short stories to get the kiddies excited for the big day.” He said: “Featuring a cast of adventurous kids and devoted animals who enjoy festive frolics to excite and delight, it contains wondrous moments of fun and laughter alongside mystery, suspense and really scary bits.”

So you can all read about Big Bad Al, the alligator who snaps into action to ensure kids around the world get their presents in time, the daring duo who catch up with toy thieves Gobber and Smudger, plus the frantic search for Coco the Clown.

Exciting, or what?  “There’s something for everyone who loves surprises,” said John.

“Santa’s Story Sack” is published by Grosvenor House Publishing and available through Amazon and most main bookshops, priced £7.99. And it varies from John’s previous works, as this one is a collection of ten different short stories with Christmas as the backdrop.

“Some of the short stories were written years ago, some are entirely new, and I thought it would be fun to pull them all together in book form. Hopefully people will like them – I certainly enjoyed dreaming them up,” added John. He said: “For me, book-writing is more a hobby than a money-earner. The first raised significant sums for charities Cure Leukaemia and Symphony Hall. The latest one is not specifically committed but depending on the circumstances the intention is to gift £1 a book.”

John, who is happy to do readings for local schools, started his career on The Press and Journal in Aberdeen, a major regional daily across the north of Scotland.

If you are local to Birmingham then there is a discount for collecting the book in person. Or for bulk purchases, John will endeavour to deliver.

“Santa’s Story Sack” follows on from The Amazing Adventures of the Silly Six and The Crazy Adventures of the Silly Six.  But parents had better make sure they don’t buy John’s proposed next offering. He’s promising a “steamy” novel.

  • To reserve a place at the Press Club’s Christmas lunch, to be held at Birmingham Hippodrome on 14 December, please email

Merger of production operations at regional publisher

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Up to six jobs are set to be lost in a move that sees the merger of print production operations of seven daily newspapers across the Midlands.

Reach plc announced the proposal to staff at its East and West Midlands dailies just 48 hours after the company revealed both regions would now come under a single editor-in-chief in Marc Reeves.

Marc, who is taking on the expanded role after Derby Telegraph editor and East Midlands editor-in-chief Steve Hall decided to step down, announced the move to staff yesterday.  In a memo, seen by media website HTFP, he said he hoped the cuts - understood to mainly affect sub-editing roles - can be achieved entirely through voluntary redundancies.

Reach’s seven daily tiles in the Midlands are the Birmingham MailBurton MailCoventry Telegraph, Derby Telegraph, Leicester MercuryNottingham Post and Stoke-on-Trent daily The Sentinel.

Marc (pictured) said:  “The proven success of regionalised print production, along with the investment in a common system across the Regionals division, has enabled us to further refine our workflows. We propose to take advantage of the new opportunities created by these changes to introduce one production model across Regionals editorial.

“Specifically, we are today proposing to combine the print production operations of our seven daily titles in the West and East Midlands into a single operation to make the most efficient use of our resources. This move will not necessarily require anybody to relocate.”

He added: “The proposed changes are expected to lead to the loss of six full-time equivalent roles in total across both regions.

“We hope to achieve these savings entirely through voluntary redundancies and have therefore invited print production colleagues who may be interested to come forward.”

Earlier this year Reach merged the print operations of the Manchester Evening News and Huddersfield Daily Examiner, in a restructure, which the company said, would involve a net loss of seven roles at the latter.

Fledgling publication gets the chop

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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

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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

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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

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

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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.

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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.”


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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!

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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

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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.”