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Emergency debate over future of Midlands media

An emergency debate over the future of the media in Birmingham and the Midlands is being hosted later this month.

The Birmingham Press Club has called the 11th-hour meeting in response to news this week that Trinity Mirror is planning to close nine weekly newspapers and merge two more – placing 17 journalists’ jobs, and 94 in total, under threat.

Further rumours persist about the future of the Birmingham Post and Mail, also owned by Trinity Mirror.

The National Union of Journalists is balloting members over possible strike action amid claims the daily Post could reduce in frequency while the Mail could switch to overnight printing.

Press Club chairman John Lamb said these cuts, combined with similar measures hitting the region’s TV and radio news output, were a serious matter on a number of levels.

He said: “We have to ask ourselves ‘What is happening to the media in Birmingham?’ Is part of the city’s heritage being dismantled?’.

“If the answer to that is ‘yes’, then we need to highlight the danger before it is too late and it is right that the Press Club should promote a forum to bring these issues to the fore.

“The newspaper (Post) has been in daily print since 1857 and is an indispensable part of Birmingham’s heritage and in particular its business life.”

The debate will be chaired by former Midlands TV presenter Llewela Bailey and the panel will include former Post editor Nigel Hastilow, NUJ northern organiser and former Mail journalist Chris Morley and Chris Bullivant, founder of the Observer group of newspapers in the Midlands.

  • Admission to the debate is free. It starts at 6pm on 13 July at Austin Court, 80 Cambridge Street, Birmingham. Refreshments will be provided.
  • Comments

    CHARLES DARWIN (03/07/2009 12:23:00)
    So, farwell then to Post People. Lots of suits out and about a being seen. By other suits out and about. But not many others.

    John Bright Jnr (03/07/2009 13:26:34)
    The Post will hardly be a loss. Well, it will to the PR industry and all those business people who fill it with terribly dull press releases, but other than that it won’t be missed.

    JP (03/07/2009 15:33:44)
    I wonder if Sly Bailey and the JP gravy train management will roll into town. Can anyone fork out for oodles of cavier, champers and a map on how to get to the area for them?

    Despairing (03/07/2009 15:39:30)
    If the Post is “an indispensable part of Birmingham’s heritage and in particular its business life” why is there virtually nobody supporting it with advertising?

    Bill (03/07/2009 15:43:32)
    Oooh, this seems like a balanced panel. Ex Post editor who is often critical of the Post, NUJ “organiser” who is constantly sticking the knife into the Post and Mail to get a headline, and Bullivant, the bloke who reckons he’d like to buy the Post (but probably couldn’t afford it).

    JP (06/07/2009 09:50:23)
    The Birmingham Post has been on life support for two decades, long before the advent of internet competition and the credit crunch. Claiming to represent the whole of the Midlands region and not just the city, its circulation was nonetheless just around the 13,000 mark, I recall, which indicates a lack of demand. As it purports to be a business paper, surely it undderstands the implications of no demand for a product. If it goes, yes it is sad, but it is also a mercy killing.

    JP (07/07/2009 04:55:48)
    If the complaint about the above story is about the historic circulation figure, then I will withdraw it as I asccept it may not be accurate. However, the real point I tried to make is that The Birmnigham Post wanted to be a region-wide paper, and while the product was well produced and resourced, its sales, I understand, never came anywhere near matching the circulation of sister title the Birmingham Evening Mail.