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Editors quit as Brum changes announced

The editors of Birmingham’s two daily newspapers quit their posts today as major changes were announced to their respective titles.

Publisher Trinity Mirror finally ended weeks of speculation by confirming that the Birmingham Post is to go weekly from 12 November while the Birmingham Mail is to be printed overnight.

Mail editor Steve Dyson and Post counterpart Marc Reeves have both chosen to leave their jobs, with Coventry Telegraph editor Dave Brookes taking over as editor-in-chief of the Birmingham titles.

His job goes to Darren Parkin, currently editor-in-chief of Trinity Mirror’s Coventry weeklies series.

Steve, who also edits the Sunday Mercury, said today: “It has been a privilege working on these fine newspapers. They have provided me with great experiences, from my days as a reporter to my last seven years as an editor. I’ve been really lucky and will never forget my 17 years with the company.

“It has been quite a wrench to come to the decision to move on, but I feel it is the right time to seek new challenges elsewhere. I leave wishing everyone at the company the very best for the future.”

Marc added: “I’m delighted that I am able to leave the Post on a high as it takes a really ambitious and brave step and one that puts it in an even better position to meet the challenges of the economy and the changing media environment.

“It was my lifelong ambition to edit the Birmingham Post, my home town newspaper, and I’ve had nearly four years doing exactly that.

“I feel truly honoured to have been editor when the Post celebrated its 150th anniversary, and to have played a part in the development of its online services and forays into social media.

“My focus now is shaping the Post for the changes and challenges ahead and handing over the reins to my successor before I leave at the end of the year.”

Marc has gone into further detail about the reasons for his departure in a post on his blog, saying that had he stayed, he would have needed to commit to being editor “for a considerable period in the future.”

The post can be read in full here.

Managing director John Griffith said: “We wish both Steve and Marc every success in the future. They have both made a great contribution to their titles and to the Birmingham business. I respect the fact that both have decided this is an appropriate time to move on.”

Both Steve and Marc will stay with the business until December to help implement the planned changes. A new editor of the Post, reporting to Dave Brookes, will be appointed in due course.

Dave’s appointment as editor of the Birmingham Mail and editor-in-chief of all the Birmingham titles marks a return to Fort Dunlop for the former Sunday Mercury editor.

Said John Griffith: “Dave knows our Birmingham titles inside out. Under his editorship, the Mercury won numerous awards and in Coventry he has gained valuable experience editing a successful overnight newspaper. I’m delighted to welcome him back to Birmingham.”

Darren Parkin’s move to the editorship of the Coventry Telegraph was described by his managing director Debbie Davies as “a richly-deserved promotion.”

Darren became the youngest editor in the country on the Wolverhampton Ad News in 1996 and editor of the Solihull News in 1997. After a break, he returned to Coventry in 2005 and has been editor of the Times series of weeklies for the past four years.


Mike (20/10/2009 15:19:20)
Great loss for the Mail. I worked for Steve Dyson and he is a proper hack’s editor.

Mr_Osato (20/10/2009 15:20:19)
What a shame that the regional press is losing one of the few editors prepared to engage publicly with his readers, critics, and even grumpy old cynics like me. Interesting that the two editors, who both appeared scepitcal about the ‘new direction’ TM was imposing on their newspapers have made their announcements at the same time…

Reynard (20/10/2009 15:46:40)
So the inevitable has happened!
Would the previous management team, who tried to buy the business, have done anything different ?
I doubt it. They would have never got the chance anyway, the business went down the pan so quick in the recession that they would all be on the council house waiting list by now. Actually where are they now ?
Two stages? Quite correct, only subs think subs add value. Reporters and writers, it’s your language so learn how to use it.
Overnight ? When will all the grey cardigans realize that people who buy local newspapers buy them for local news, features, info, adverts, they have not bought them for the latest news since regional radio and TV ! So called live is only misplaced vanity.
Weekly Post ? Good idea but won’t last, TM will fail to market it properly and will cut corners on content, format etc. until its dead. I do however hope I am very wrong on this one.
Dyson and Reeves, both good guys and genuinely passionate about serving their readers. What a way to treat such loyal hardworking people, a bit like the previous MD. Where is he now, oh yes at Express and Star ! Dip your bread Mr Brown !
Tally Ho Ho HO

the red postman (20/10/2009 17:44:30)
Will the last one out please close the door, pull the blinds down and turn the lights off? For those who choose to stay, trying to make this new system work will be a nightmare. And what does it say that both editors have ‘chosen to seek new challenges’When I was an enthusiastic young hack, I dreamed of working for the P&M. Now, I’m almost relieved to be going.

Pedant (21/10/2009 08:55:33)
@Reynard: “…the business went down the pan so quick in the recession …Reporters and writers, it’s your language so learn how to use it….”
Yes, indeed. Use it quickly.

Roy Challis (21/10/2009 09:40:04)
“Quite correct, only subs think subs add value. Reporters and writers, it’s your language so learn how to use it.”
Does anyone who works in newspapers REALLY think all reporters are going to magically acquire the ability to routinely produce page-perfect copy? Seriously? I’ve known great reporters who couldn’t write a headline to save their lives and wouldn’t know a good picture if it bit them on the backside. Get rid of any semblance of quality control and we really are all dead in the water.
With such misguided nonsense being routinely spouted, it’s no wonder our industry is eating itself.

alf (21/10/2009 10:03:45)
Dyson is a fine editor and behaved with great honour in the last round of redundancies. Obviously, hopeless Trinity will be delighted to see the back of the likes of him.

helen logan (21/10/2009 11:00:27)
Sorry to hear the news about Steve Dyson – one of the best editors I have ever worked for.

Beth (21/10/2009 12:43:22)
Marc Reeves is “leaving on a high”????
Who on earth is he trying to kid?

disheartened (21/10/2009 12:51:50)
Trinity Mirror is only interested in profit, just so the ‘fat cats’ at Canary Wharf can get fatter. They couldn’t sell the regional titles so they’re trying to kill them off. Only a fool or a greed-driven management could possibly think that turning the Mail overnight and reducing the Post to a weekly will do anything but sound the death-knell for these papers. But the fat cats will have long gone by then to slash and burn somewhere else

FAST WOMAN (21/10/2009 14:47:53)
It’s interesting that so many senior editors leaving the big groups choose to ‘seek new challenges’ just when their company is offering a plethora of exciting opportunities to contribute to ‘The Vision’ of how they will reshape the regional media landscape. Or not.
Actually, I too was on a high when my turn came.
The suddenly easy choice was redundo cheque and polite smiles all round or a miserable role bludgeoning the remaining life out of my company’s pr
oducts and staff in pursuit of an unsustainable profit-racheting exercise.
Good luck, Steve and Marc. Make the most of the energising and healthy sense of relief you will feel having taken the first, brave step in a new direction.
The same applies, of course, to all talented journalists unwilling to take any more of this tosh.

Hengist Pod (21/10/2009 16:00:27)
It strikes me as a most peculiar way to run a business. What planet are these people down in Canary Wharf from. This is a business plan to career headlong towards unsustainability, and ultimatley, oblivion.

Andy (21/10/2009 20:53:35)
Reporters putting copy straight into the page is a recipe for fairly instant libel actions. This old chestnut keeps cropping up in regional newspapers but is anyone with more experience of other groups than me aware of any group where it is working? Meanwhile Trinity Mirror displays its usual heartfelt timing in sacking another bunch of people, not FTEs (full time equivalents) as one exec described the redunancies, just before Christmas.