Trinity Mirror’s Birmingham Mail is to pilot a new publishing approach aimed, it says, at creating a completely standalone, profitable and sustainable digital business.
Posted on: 06 September 2017 07:14
Marc Reeves: "This is an extremely important step for the Birmingham region."
The Birmingham Mail’s website which regularly reaches 50% of the Greater Birmingham population a week, says Trinity Mirror, and is one of the fastest growing digital news brands in the UK will be rebranded as ‘Birmingham Live’, and the newsroom will move into new premises in Birmingham city centre. The new 'Birmingham Live' brand presents an opportunity to reach a wider range of audiences, communities and advertisers than that currently served by the Birmingham Mail.
The new Birmingham Live team will be separated from the print operation of the business to allow it to focus 100% on the digital audience. The Birmingham Mail in print will continue to be published daily. A number of new print-only content roles are being created to write mainly for the print title.
The Mail, like other Trinity Mirror newsrooms, adopted the ‘digital first’ approach three years ago, but teams have remained integrated. According to the company, this new structure is designed to reflect the increasingly divergent needs of digital and print audiences.
The new approach will allow Birmingham Live the latitude to throw all of its resources into one big story for a whole day if that is what its audiences want, without worrying about filling the next day’s paper. The digital news team will sit alongside a newly-recruited team of digital commercial specialists.
In addition, a team of journalists, coders and commercial specialists will work on a raft of projects to expand Trinity Mirror’s reach into Birmingham, the UK’s largest city outside of London.
The publisher has started a period of consultation with staff over what it describes as ‘significant’ changes in working practices and culture involving rotas and job descriptions. There is likely, says Trinity Mirror, to be a small net reduction in the number of newsroom roles.
Marc Reeves, Editor of the Birmingham Mail, said, "This is an extremely important step for the Birmingham region. The city is the youngest and most diverse in the UK, with a massive appetite for digital news and information.
"Birmingham Live is our response to this, and a bold move to take the initiative to create a sustainable digital journalism business.
"Regrettably a number of jobs will go as we restructure. However, if the model we're building is successful, we will be employing more journalists and serving more readers than would be the case if we sat back and did nothing.
"One of the most exciting aspects of the change is our long-overdue move back into the city centre after ten years in our current base at Fort Dunlop. I know this will be welcomed in the city and will go a long way to help us connect with our readers."