Birmingham has developed a core of talented, young digital media professionals who have the ability to establish the city as a world leader, an expert has claimed.
Paul Bradshaw, a senior lecturer at Birmingham City University and one of the UK's foremost thinkers on online journalism, said the city was starting to get international recognition for its digital work.
Mr Bradshaw, who earlier this month became the only person in the world to have been shortlisted twice for the prestigious Knight News Challenge, said Birmingham individuals were starting to build significant reputations and had a positive knock-on effect for the city's digital media industry as a whole.
He said: "I think in the last year Birmingham has developed a reputation online on number of fronts. We have seen some fantastic work emerging from bloggers, podcasters and local journalists.
"And the advantage of the internet is that this work has attracted international attention."
Mr Bradshaw, who has been lecturing in online journalism at Birmingham City University since 2001, said he hoped that Birmingham could build on its current successes and play a part in shaping the future of online media.
He said: "It is great to see UK organisations and individuals outside London starting to make waves. A few months ago The Guardian newspaper insulted the city by leaving it out of a round-up of UK blogging cities.
"But we are a thriving blogging city and this is increasingly recognised by the media attention received by local bloggers. People are also meeting physically and that core group of innovators are starting to support and inspire other startups.
"There is a second generation emerging who are benefiting from those people's experience."
Mr Bradshaw, who sees tens of thousands of visits a month to his Online Journalism Blog, was recently shortlisted twice for the Knight News Challenge which supports innovative ideas that use digital media to try to transform community news. Mr Bradshaw, along with a team that included Birmingham grass-roots community podcaster Nick Booth and internet entrepreneur Stefan Lewandowski, submitted two projects to the grant scheme.
The first aims to promote citizen journalism - where members of the public work together to investigate and write stories.
The second aims to develop a "conversation toolkit" that news organisation could provide to help readers interact with issues contained in stories.
Both projects made it into the final shortlist of 29. The final 17 projects will receive a share of a grant of up to $5 million (£2.5 million).
Mr Bradshaw said: "I had no expectations at all and I was surprised we got to the final 29 twice. The competition this year is very strong."
Winners of the News Challenge will be announced on May 14 in Las Vegas.
Mr Bradshaw added: "Of course I would be very disappointed if we didn't make it into the final 17, but the Foundation encourages other funders and venture capitalists to look at the entries and so, if we do not make it, there is still a chance we could find some-one to finance the projects.
The 32-year-old former magazine editor said that the transition of news online had opened up new opportunities in the journalism industry.
He said: "I feel really passionate that these projects could make news force for good.
"We are at a moment in time where the idea of news and way it is reported is changing rapidly because of the internet and there is more of an opportunity than ever before to influence the industry's future.
"In the past mistakes have been made, for example many readers and viewers have been alienated by the national media's London bias. I believe we can now change this.