Hello birminghamnewsroom.com and congratulations

Birmingham News Room header
Birmingham News Room header

After a brief consultation process and suggestions  from a number of folk, including this lengthy burble from me, Birmingham City Council has launched birminghamnewsroom.com.

It’s a wordpress based site for their news service to the public and press and  describes itself as

…your first stop for all the news from Europe’s largest local authority.

The aim is to improve our news delivery, so we want the newsroom to be a useful resource for both journalists and members of the general public.

Last rites to the press release?

Deborah Harries, head of news at the council, blogged about where they are at:

The press office at Birmingham City Council has moved into the 21st century and after months of hard work we’ve finally launched our online newsroom. This is an exciting development for my team and hopefully this site will prove to be a useful resource for journalists, bloggers and residents.

We haven’t quite read the last rites to the press release but the world of media relations is changing. (my emphasis)

People consume news in many different ways now and we’re keen to reach a wider audience through the burgeoning and exciting range of social networking tools available. Don’t get me wrong, this is far from the finished article and we’re looking for your views to help further develop the service.

Included is:

A dedicated Youtube Channel, managed partly through vodpod, with straightforward self made content like this:

There is a series of photos in their self hosted gallery (I’d like to be able to link to and use these images) and the twitter account, which popped up a while ago. Plus the all important RSS feed(s?) and it’s good to see comments enabled on individual blog posts/news items.  I imagine trackback is too?

What do I think?

I think it’s wonderful. I’ve got a head full of things that could be done next or perhaps a litle differently, but they can wait.  It’s through using social media that you get good at it and here the council has created a wonderful place for doing just that.

Congratulations to Geoff Coleman, who’s been nursing this for some months, and Deborah Harries for just getting on with it.

(Declaration – from time to time I get paid by Birmingham City Council – not for this though!)


  1. Ged Hughes says:

    Farewell Forward Newspaper, hello birminghamnewsroom.com? Its in keeping with Birmingham, to be looking *Forward*!

  2. Dan Slee says:

    Excellent stuff. Some great ideas. I’m sure local government – and other organisations – will monitor with interest.

  3. Nick Booth says:

    Thanks for all the comments. Ged – I think print is still a useful way to reach a big chunk of people. The big innovation here would be that this website was the first place news appeared – more than a place where press releases get put after they’ve been sent out.

    That may be part of the plan.

  4. Matthew says:

    Looks nice (apart from the brokenness as you scroll down on any page but the front…). But why is a .com necessary – surely this should be at http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/news/? Why is there lots of duplicated content – http://birminghamnewsroom.com/your-council/ward-by-ward/kings-norton/ might look prettier but http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/GenerateContent?CONTENT_ITEM_ID=1382&CONTENT_ITEM_TYPE=0&MENU_ID=5456 has lots more information on it. What’s the difference between “News” and “News releases”? Why is it not mentioned on birmingham.gov.uk? Why does http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/GenerateContent?VIEW_TYPE=5120&ORDER_BY=PRESS_RELEASE.ISSUE_DATE%20DESC&VIEW_DISPLAY_NAME=Press%20Releases%20-%20By%20Issue%20Date&DB=9&MENU_ID=276 still exist, and not redirect? It just strikes me as a little odd.

  5. Nick Booth says:

    Hi Matthew,

    At this stage this is a big step for them, but I’d say every question you ask is valid and there will be many others. More thoughts welcome.

  6. Dalbir Thind says:

    Hi Podnosh. It would be nice if you credited me for helping build the birminghamnewsroom.com! Yes I revamped the template used for the site and developed certain architechture.


    aka MrMediaKID

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