Pioneering free turns into Birmingham News

News: "cleaner look" for editorial

The last vestige of Birmingham’s Daily News disappeared this week. The first free daily in Europe when it launched in 1984, it turned into the weekly Metro News in 1991 and relaunches next week as The Birmingham News.

Editor Bill McCarthy and his eight editorial staff will stay. McCarthy, who has been working on the relaunch since he took the editor’s chair in July, said he and his team had looked at several designs before choosing "a cleaner look" for the newspaper.  Editorial content will be clearly signposted throughout, with a content banner on the front page.

"It will have more of the look of our other weekly newspapers, though we hope to drive the design from this end," said McCarthy.

From 10 January, the new weekly will increase its distribution by 14,000. Metro News’s last verified free distribution figure was 159,000.

It will be delivered to homes not currently receiving a free newspaper, including those in Birmingham’s diverse ethnic communities. Their homes have been targeted using a geo-demographic mapping system because their lifestyle and spending habits show them to be active consumers interested in local news and information.

One reason for the name-change is the confusion that has arisen since the launch in the city of a daily Metro, a commuters’ newspaper owned by Associated Newspapers and franchised to Trinity Mirror.

"But there are a number of reasons for changing," said McCarthy. "We thought it was time for a new look, a freshening up of the newspaper to take us into the newish millennium."

The Daily News was the brainchild of Chris Bullivant, who in 1991 was bought out by Reed Regional Newspapers, which turned it into the Metro News. It was then sold to Midland Independent Newspapers in 1996.


By Jean Morgan

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