Independent entrepreneur offers to rescue Midlands papers
24 June 2009
An independent newspaper entrepreneur has offered to save some of the weekly titles facing the axe at the hand of Trinity Mirror in the Midlands. Chris Bullivant, who has been running free papers in the English region for 30 years, would also like to help keep the Birmingham Post daily.
The NUJ revealed this morning that internal Trinity Mirror documents propose closing eight weekly titles and cutting production of the Post.
Chris Bullivant, chairman of Redditch-based Bullivant Media, told the union:
"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."
Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, 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.
"Mr Bullivant's intervention shows that there are successful business people who have faith in the future of the regional press.
"The slash and burn policies of the big companies like Trinity Mirror – closing titles rather than selling them – are damaging to local communities and local democracy."
Earlier this year, Chris Bullivant opposed the lobbying of the big regional newspaper publishers who wanted to lift restrictions on media ownership. The Office of Fair trading sided with the entrepreneur and the NUJ, refusing to change the rules.