Trinity Mirror is investing more than £1m in a relaunch of the Birmingham Evening Mail. Extra pagination will be guaranteed over the next year and the Thursday unveiling got a huge promotional send-off.
Editor Roger Borrell said: "We are doing more of everything. It is quite a statement by Trinity Mirror at a time when the industry isn’t buoyant. It demonstrates the importance the company places in the Birmingham operation."
The Evening Mail’s redesign is more than a new look, it is a culture change. The newspaper is aiming to attract the city’s ethnic-origin residents, now nearing half its population, and Borrell and his team have spent six months delving into what will make them buy the paper, now selling around 120,000 copies daily.
The Mail is hoping to recruit more journalists from ethnic communities and make its content inclusive of all the Birmingham population.
The change is something Trinity Mirror is looking at group-wide. Borrell’s arrival last July was the signal for intensive market research of every aspect of the paper, with the staff involved every step of the way. "Perhaps, to a certain extent, Birmingham is leading the way. It will affect every other centre in the group eventually," predicted Borrell. "We are looking to solve a few problems for the whole company if we can."
Borrell has told his staff no other
sister centre will attract investment of this magnitude.
The paper has a new masthead, columnists for every day of the week in Sharzia Mirza, Karen Brady, Adrian Goldberg, Carl Chinn, Shabina Aktar, Ed Doolan and Maureen Messent, and six new "platforms".
There is a 16-page football pull-out "The Monday After", plus a Watchdog consumer column and an M2 supplement featuring family on Tuesday (16 pages), property on Wednesday (eight pages), entertainment on Friday (20 pages) and leisure on Saturday (16 pages).
Thursday will feature jobs and Wednesday will also have eight pages on amateur and school sports.
Headline types Humanist and Franklin Gothic have given way to Impact and Helvetica. The body type has changed from Century School-book to Palatino.
It is not the only change journalists will see as their city is under reconstruction. An announcement will be made soon about their headquarters at Colmore Circus. The Sixties tower block is to be demolished; the presses are expected to move to Fort Dunlop on the outskirts of Birmingham while editorial will stay on site in a purpose-built newsroom for two or three years.
Feature: A cultural renaissance
By Jean Morgan