The great and the good of Midlands media gathered in Birmingham to debate the future of the region’s television, radio and newspapers.
Editors and broadcasters helped form a panel of dignitaries from the local media world at Austin Court, next to the city’s National Indoor Arena.
The free event, which was staged by Birmingham Press Club, was attended by around a hundred people comprising editors and journalists from the fields of print, broadcasting, public relations and the internet, as well as university lecturers and students in media.
The lively and informed debate centred on the future of the region’s media and which direction it was heading in.
Chaired by former ATV presenter and now director of communications at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Peter Tomlinson, the panel comprised Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Post editors Steve Dyson and Marc Reeves, head of BBC regional programmes Chas Watkin, former BRMB Radio programme controller Mike Owen, National Union of Journalists Northern regional organiser Chris Morley, and Laurie Upshon, former controller of News at ITV Central.
Club chairman John Lamb, in introducing the debate, said: “The strength of feeling in the future of regional media is demonstrated by the number of people here.” Both Marc Reeves and Steve Dyson championed the future role of newspapers despite the challenges, which include the credit crunch.
Marc argued: “Being a one media brand is not an option in the future and that is why we are now a multimedia brand and genuinely breaking news live on the internet throughout the day.”
Laurie Upshon warned the picture for commercial television was “bleak” and said he could see the eventual closure of ITV news programmes throughout Britain. But Chris Morley, former Post & Mail reporter, said journalism remained “very strong” and still had a good future.