Chris Bullivant wants Trinity Mirror Midlands weeklies

Independent newspaper owner Chris Bullivant has offered to buy some of the weekly Midlands titles that the National Union of Journalists claims Trinity Mirror is looking to close.

Bullivant, who has running local free papers for 30 years, said today he was particularly interested in keeping the Birmingham Post daily.

Press Gazette reported this morning that the NUJ had seen internal Trinity Mirror memos that, it claimed, showed the group was planning to announce the closure of eight weeklies in the Midlands.

The NUJ also believes that Trinity Mirror is planning to switch to overnight printing on the Birmingham Mail and turn the Birmingham Post from a daily to a bi-weekly or weekly title.

Trinity Mirror declined to comment on the rumours this morning, but did say it was “constantly reviewing” its business and staff would be the first to know of any changes.

Bullivant said today: “I would love to take part in negotiations over the future of those titles in the Midlands that Trinity Mirror wants to close that aren’t in conflict with our existing publications.

“We would undertake to save the jobs of as many staff as possible, given that the newspapers were viable.

“We would even consider allowing Trinity Mirror to keep the contracts for printing and distributing the titles – which would have considerable benefit for their workforce

“I have always admired the Birmingham Post and felt that with better marketing it could be a real success.

“If anyone wants to join me in a consortium to take over the paper I would jump at the chance.”

Bullivant was one of the new breed of free newspaper entrepreneurs who took on the established regional press in the Seventies.

His high point was launching Europe’s first free daily, the Birmingham Daily News. At one point he was involved in a consortium which attempted to buy the Birmingham Post and Mail.

His current titles include the Leamington Observer, Coventry Observer and the Bromsgrove Standard.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “We welcome Chris Bullivant’s expression of interest in saving these Midlands newspapers – though obviously we would want guarantees on the terms and conditions of any journalists who transferred to his company.”

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