200 Entries Received for Media Awards as TV personality announced as Chairman of Judging Panel

Television personality Suzanne Virdee, who plays a TV newsreader in a new movie featuring Games of Thrones actor Kit Harington, is lined up for another “starring role” – this time as chairman of the Midlands Media Awards’ judging panel.

Suzanne, who started her career as a reporter with the Birmingham Post & Mail, heads a panel of experienced journalists and communications specialists who will scrutinise a shortlist of entries after an initial judging by a panel of 40 professionals.

Joining Suzanne on the final judging panel will be Llewela Bailey, chairman of Birmingham Press Club, former Sports Journalist of the Year Martin Swain now director of communications at West Bromwich Albion FC, Dan Barton, head of corporate communications with West Midlands Police, Peter Brookes, senior lecturer in sports journalism at Staffordshire University, Tony Adams, chairman of the Birmingham & Coventry branch of the National Union of Journalists, Conor Rees, editor of 99 Percent Lifestyle and last year’s winner of the Midlands Media Students Awards, Justice Williams MBE, editor in chief of City & Style magazine and Phil Brown, founder-editor of community newspaper HEM Life. Also joining them will be photographers John James and Marc Kirsten and Clive Reeves, managing director of Clive Reeves PR.

An award-winning television presenter, who co-hosted BBC Midlands Today for eleven years, Suzanne is now a presenter/reporter with ITV London. She also has her own production company and is the author of “A Teenage Girl’s Guide to Being Fabulous,” which tackles sexism and violence against girls.

Press Club chairman Llewela Bailey said: “Suzanne is a very knowledgeable and talented journalist and she brings a further wealth of experience to the judging panel.”

More than 200 entries have been received for the awards, which recognise the achievements of the region’s journalists, broadcasters, photographers and bloggers over the past 12 months.

Headline sponsor is global bank HSBC, which is currently building a new national head office in Birmingham city centre to serve its personal and business customers. Nigel Hinshelwood, head of UK and deputy chief executive of HSBC, which is set to have one of the biggest workforces in Birmingham, employing more than 3,500 staff by mid-2017, said: “Having just signed a three-year sponsorship package with the Press Club, we look forward to being associated for the first time with such a prestigious event.

The media awards have been an important part of the Press Club calendar for many years and I am sure that this year’s entries will again reflect the professionalism of journalists from throughout the East and West Midlands.”

With 22 categories ranging from Newspaper of the Year to Blogger of the Year, the awards are to take place at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre on Thursday, October 20. Further details, and how to book your place at the awards, can be found by logging onto  www.midlandsmediaawards.co.uk

  • And that new movie? Scheduled for release next year, it’s called “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” and also stars Natalie Portman, Susan Sarandon and Michael Gambon. Suzanne was flown to Montreal for four days – where she filmed three lines of dialogue, playing a TV newsreader

 For further information on the media awards please contact either Paula Kelsey or Charlotte Widdowson at Cloud 9 Events Management on 0115 933 3811. E-mailcharlotte@cloud9em.co.uk

Have you a question about newspaper standards? Then, this meeting is for you

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) – the regulator for the UK newspaper and magazine industry that holds publications to account for their actions – is to hold a “Town Hall” style meeting in Birmingham to mark its second anniversary.

Staged in association with the Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Press Club, the event will be chaired by BBC WM 95.6 FM’s breakfast show host Adrian Goldberg.

The public meeting, which will take place at the One Snowhill offices of KPMG on Wednesday 14 September starting at 6.30 pm, is an opportunity for members of the public, community groups, local politicians and journalism students to hear from the press regulator and ask questions of an expert media panel.

Press Club chairman Llewela Bailey said:  “The Q & A session is an ideal platform for anyone who wishes to discover more about the role of an important industry ‘watchdog.’”

IPSO regulates the overwhelming majority of the UK press, both national and local newspapers and magazines, including all the significant titles in the Midlands, and can make newspapers and magazines publish corrections if they breach the Editors Code.

On the panel will be IPSO chairman Sir Alan Moses, Keith Harrison, editor of the Express & Star and Paul Mottram, the head of Legal & Compliance for publisher Trinity Mirror.

Other panellists are expected to be added over the next few weeks.

The meeting is open to the public but in order to organise refreshments and seating, those attending should email vikki.julian@ipso.co.uk

Commenting on the event, Adrian Goldberg said: “Newspapers, whether online or in print, remain a very important part of how local communities define themselves and find out what is going on where they live. I’m very pleased to have the chance to chair the IPSO public meeting in Birmingham and look forward to seeing members of the public quiz the people who are responsible for press standards and dealing with complaints about press wrongdoing.” 

IPSO chairman Sir Alan Moses, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, said: “Regulators can be distant and opaque organisations but I am determined to make IPSO as accessible and open as I possibly can. I would encourage anyone with an interest in how the press works and is regulated to come to the meeting and contribute to what I hope will be a fascinating evening.” 

For further information on IPSO email inquiries@ipso.co.uk or phone 0300 123 2220. It operates an emergency advice hotline on 07659 152656

Deaths of “local legend” and board games inventor

Two well-known veteran Midland journalists have died, both at the age of 81.

They were Warwickshire-based Tom Swain, whose funeral takes place at Oakley Woods Crematorium, near Warwick on 18 August at 3.15 pm, and Mike Woods, who was also a prolific inventor of board and card games.

Tom, who died in Warwick Hospital on August 1 after being taken ill a few days earlier at his home, retired 20 years ago after working for 30 years as chief reporter in the Leamington Spa office of the Coventry Evening Telegraph.

“Tom was a local legend,” said former colleague Peter Rhodes. “He was the ultimate district reporter. Everyone in Leamington knew Tom, and Tom seemed to know everyone.

“He had dozens of contacts and the magical ability to produce stories from nowhere within a few minutes of deadlines. He was a great professional and a gentleman.”

Born in Somerset and educated at Wells Grammar School, he became a trainee reporter on the Wells Journal, having earlier contributed sports reports on local cricket and football matches.

He completed two years of National Service with the Somerset Light Infantry, seeing active service during the 1950s Malaya Emergency.

Later, having completed his newspaper training, Tom joined the Stratford Herald as a general reporter where he met and married Joan, a freelance journalist, who died 12 years ago.

Tom became a sports writer with the old Birmingham Despatch and when that newspaper closed in 1963 he joined the Coventry Evening Telegraph. He was in charge of the Leamington district office from the 1960s until his retirement in 1996.

Mike Woods worked for the Gloucestershire Echo and the Evesham Journal during a career which also saw him work in public relations for cider company Bulmers. He worked at the Echo in the 1960s and 1970s, where he was based in Tewkesbury for the newspaper.

Outside of journalism, he was one of the UK’s premier games inventors, with a portfolio of more than 100 games. He had partners in Australia, Canada, the USA, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and India.

His widow Jan told the Echo: “I would like to say that Mike had a great sense of humour and huge enthusiasm for life. His passion for games was such that he was always hoping that each game he invented would be the next Scrabble or Monopoly.”

Mike died in Cheltenham General Hospital after a short illness and his funeral was held at the town’s crematorium.

Journalists brace themselves to be the ‘butt’ of town’s jokes

TWO respected Stratford-upon-Avon companies, in business for more than 300 years between them, have formed a unique partnership that will probably make local journalists the ‘butt’ of a few jokes!

Thomas Crapper, which has manufactured high-end bathroom fittings since 1861, has created a new toilet pan design which they decided to name after the Stratford Herald, which was first published just a year before in 1860.

The Herald pan is believed to be the first toilet ever to be named after a local newspaper and Thomas Crapper has high hopes that the model may be a big seller, rather than a ‘flash in the pan.’

The Herald toilet is no ‘bog standard’ convenience. Embossed with the Herald name, the throne could be the perfect place to sit down and enjoy the local paper.

Those ‘privy’ to the history of Thomas Crapper will be aware of what an honour it is to have the toilet world’s most famous name associated with their business.

One of the biggest winners from the new toilet will be Stratford Hospital as Thomas Crapper has promised to donate £10 from every Herald pan sold to the Stratford Cancer and Eye Hospital appeal – the Herald’s nominated charity.

For those trying to get a ‘handle’ on why Thomas Crapper has chosen to use the Herald name, managing director Paul Dwyer was keen to explain the ‘chain of events’ that led them to make their decision.

Paul said: “We are a local business and the idea of teaming up with the Herald and supporting a great local cause like the hospital is something we are very pleased about. We believe in putting something back into the community in which we work so to be able to raise money for something like this is fantastic.

He added, tongue in cheek: “I strongly suspect this is the first time a toilet has been named in honour of a newspaper, although I’m not sure about the association of toilets and journalism!”

The Herald will be putting its new pan, worth £395, to good use straight away — by inviting people to ‘spend a penny’ in the form of donations for the hospital. Visitors to the Herald’s Rother Street offices will have the chance to throw some coins into the pan for the next few weeks. And, at the same time, they are inviting readers to have their photo taken on the Herald lavatory and make a donation to the hospital appeal in exchange for publishing two paragraphs about their business or in memory of a loved one lost to cancer. This will hopefully culminate in a photo special further down the line.

Founded in 1860 the Herald has been owned by four generations of the same family since it was purchased by George Boyden in 1880.

Since then the Herald has moved with the times, but has always retained its broadsheet format and today is one of the country’s few remaining independent weekly newspapers.

The Herald’s new association with Thomas Crapper has been welcomed by current owner Richard Boyden, who took control of the company in 1991.

Richard said: “I’m not worried at all about having the Herald associated with a toilet and I think it’s wonderful that we now have a connection with such an iconic brand.

“Stratford needs a hospital and it’s right that, as the local paper and an important part of the community, we are supporting such a great cause.”

Richard added: “Stratford is unique and so is the Herald. The Herald is a constant in an ever-changing world.”

Herald editor, Amanda Chalmers, said: “The opportunity to get involved with this partnership was too good to resist.

“We are only too aware of the jokes and puns we are opening ourselves up for but we can promise you, we will be laughing along too.

“How many other newspapers can boast this claim to fame? As far as we can tell this is a first and we are extremely proud of that. Thank you to Thomas Crapper for this uniquely special honour — we all feel justifiably ‘flushed with success!’”

Press Club Appoints It's First Woman Chairman

The world’s oldest Press Club, founded in Birmingham more than 150 years ago, has appointed its first woman chairman.

Media personality Llewela Bailey is to succeed Heart breakfast show presenter Ed James, who is stepping down after four years in office because of increased pressure on his broadcasting and business commitments.

Ed James and Llewela Bailey

Ed, who has been a director of Birmingham Press Club for ten years, said: “The Club is part of the fabric of the city and is held in very high regard both in Birmingham and indeed across the UK. The quality of its events and calibre of guest speakers is testament to the hard work and dedication of its board of directors and for that I thank each and every one of them.”

He added: “We are officially the oldest press club in the world but today we are probably more relevant and important than we've ever been both for the industry and indeed the wider city. Birmingham is booming and the press club is ideally placed to drive the agenda and really capitalise on the energy and investment happening in our city at the moment.”

Llewela Bailey, who previously used to co-present ITV Central News alongside Press Club president Bob Warman, said: “Having been involved with the Press Club as a member of the Board for a number of years I am absolutely thrilled at becoming the club’s first woman chairman.”

Now the host of BBC WM 95.6 FM's Sunday Breakfast show and a part-time lecturer with Staffordshire University’s Journalism Department, Llewela added that her aims would include engaging more with media students, strengthening links with academia and promoting events that will appeal to next-generation journalists and broadcasters.

Llewela has been a member of the Press Club for 20 years and a Board member for the past eleven years.

Oliver Wall, Head of External Affairs at HSBC UK, which announced a sponsorship deal to support the Birmingham Press Club earlier this year, said: “Many congratulations to Llewela on taking over the helm of the Club in what is a ground-breaking appointment. We look forward to working with Llewela and her team in the future.”