Compact, concise, connected – why Birmingham (Post) must change

Above Marc Reeves sums up why The Birmingham Post must change. After 150 years as a broadsheet, he told tonight’s launch party that nothing this radical has yet happened to the paper. The loss of the Saturday edition and the change to stapled tabloid size are the the most visible changes, but to my mind the most important ones are happening elsewhere.

They will be found in the new relationships being forged online (and in the real world) that will see reporters change from people with contacts into people with real relationships. It is something that Marc and Jo Geary (and others at the paper) have been experiencing for many months.

The curious thing though is appreciating the scale of the operation at the new Fort Dunlop HQ for the Post and sister papers.  500 jobs is a huge amount to support in a changing world with business models breaking by the day. By that measure this is just the start of a communications revolution which will take brains, courage and flexibility to survive.

So lets take a moment to be proud.

Here in Birmingham the Post is changing fast to find new ways to understand how those business models will be framed.  Channel 4 has come here with 4IP to do the same. Hello Digital is looking to help us get digital faster. Independents from small companies to community groups and local bloggers are learning faster than almost anyone.

We are gaining great pleasure from plunging ourselves into solving one the key problems of the start of the 21st century.

Birmingham is learning to break and remake the rules all over again.

Other Reactions:

Editors Weblog.

PaidContent “We cannot carry on as we are”

Birmingham Post Cartoonist retires (I remember Bert Hackett from work experience and being at school with his daughter).

Grovesmedia:  “a tentative thumbs up for now”.

D’log,   Steve Bowbrick muses on whether we could nationalise newspapers, and Mark Steadman.

3 comments

  1. Steve Cooper says:

    It was always a difficult paper to read (like all broadsheets) so I welcome the change to tabloid format.

    As someone who has recently met up with Marc and Jo I’m happy to see them engaging with local bloggers/media people. Nice to see a local media company staying local unlike others I could mention.

  2. Dave Harte says:

    But the thing to note is that change is not being led by the large organisations you mention above. Rather, they take their lead from what’s happening on the ground. Innovation will always happen with individuals or small groups who want to break rules and challenge the status quo. That’s what happened with the digital landscape here in Birmingham and that’s why Channel 4/AWM/Screen WM/Post & Mail are entering this space – because high-profile bloggers and small business owners showed them they were doing it wrong and needed to change.

    So now that some elements of the mainstream are beggining to ‘get it’ what next? How do we continue to stay ahead and start seeding what the mainstream will be picking up on in two/three years time when they catch up? I think the informal network of bloggers and innovators that exists in Brum has more power than it realises. That is, power to influence change, to ‘do good’, to show leadership, to challenge authority when need be. As I keep blathering on about in various comments in various blogs – it’s time to get thoughtful and maybe it’s time to get organised…. (see also second half of my blog post on Steve Bell)

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